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2019-02-06 / Features

Help your Server with Good Behavior

Dining out opens doors to new cuisines and gives people some time off from preparing meals at home.

The National Restaurant Association says that the restaurant industry brings in around $800 billion in sales each year, providing jobs for 14.7 million people. In fact, restaurant workers make up 10 percent of the American workforce.

Line cooks, bussers and servers work hard, and many do so for low pay. According to the employment salary comparison source Glassdoor, restaurant servers typically earn an average of $21,000 per year. The job-search site Indeed says some servers earn $10.70 per hour, and most rely on tips to make ends meet. When dining out, diners should prioritize etiquette and friendliness, which can make restaurant staff feel respected and appreciated.

• Make reservations. If possible, or if it’s a requirement on busy nights, take the time to make a reservation. Reservations help establishments ensure they will have enough staff on hand to meet customers’ needs, which can lead to better service. Show up on time or even a few minutes early.

• Put your phone on silent. Just because someone can reach you at all hours of the day doesn’t mean you should always answer a call or text. Staring at the screen or talking on a call is not only rude, it also can delay table service, which may cause a trickle-down effect that affects others’ dining experiences.

• Don’t make a scene. If you find a foreign object in your food or need your steak cooked to a different temperature, signal the server and handle the situation discreetly. He or she has no control over the quality of the food or how long it takes to prepare it.

• Know when to leave the kids home. Children should be taught proper restaurant etiquette, but not at the expense of other diners or the restaurant staff. Inquire if a restaurant is family-friendly before booking a table.

Start the kids in familyfriendly places and gradually move up to fine dining as they prove themselves capable. If a child has a meltdown, go outside or get the food to go.

• Tip accordingly. It is customary in many North American restaurants for diners to offer a gratuity to their servers and other staff. It is in poor taste to withhold a tip, even if service was not up to par.

If service is subpar, it’s still proper etiquette to leave a tip and then voice any concerns with the manager before leaving the restaurant or the next day. Even if a waiter or waitress is not up to snuff, tips may be pooled and are typically shared with bussers or even kitchen staff.

Proper etiquette while dining out can make for a more enjoyable night for all involved.

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