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Seven things restaurants hate people to do when they eat out

Updated on April 17, 2012

When you go into a restaurant odds are you don't think too much about the feelings of all the people working prepare and serve your meal, and you shouldn't have to. You are paying for a service after all, and they in turn are getting paid to give you that service. You don't have to give them consideration, the people working at a fast pace generally for a low wage dealing with penny-pinching management, but they would appreciate a little respect. Imagine you are the one with sweaty hair stuck to your neck in a greasy shirt, dealing with inconsiderate people who do things like....

7. Coming in when the restaurant is packed (and complaining about speed)

So you are going out to eat, you have a place in mind, then you come around the curve and see that the parking lot is completely full. There are a large number of people near the entrance, and you have to go to the shopping center next door to park. Ok, really? There are a number of other restaurants visible who aren't completely full yet you insist on going here? So you know, when a parking lot is full that means that there is a chaotic kitchen full of sweaty, tired people under high stress working wide open with a supervisor on their back telling them to hurry it up who aren't getting paid a penny extra for this. They are just waiting for the rush to slow for a moment so they can go pee and get a drink of water, and you have to come in so you can sit elbow to elbow in a loud dining room and get upset when your food takes 30 minutes.

6. Sending your food back more than once

Ok, so your steak was a little too rare. This happens, and if the cook is new there is a good chance it was his error. So you send it back, and the food comes back and now it has too much seasoning or it's too done or whatever and you send it back again. In the industry we are forced to tell you that you are always right, but guess what? If you sent your food back more than once you are not. You see, the people cooking your food DO THIS FOR A LIVING. If you ordered a mid rare steak you probably got a mid rare steak, we do this all day every day. But, we understand your idea of mid-rare and our standard of mid-rare might be different, or the new kid might have messed up and we don't mind fixing it. But be certain that when food gets sent back we take it very seriously and make our top priority making absolutely sure the order is perfect when it goes out again. We may not always like our job, but we take pride in it. Know that when you send food back twice you have just insulted the cook(s) and made everyone working in the establishment see you as an idiot.

5. Tipping badly

I've never waited tables but I hear about it every day. First, the laws are different in every state, but in the state where i'm from waiters make $2.13 per hour, and some have to share tips. If they don't average minimum wage in a shift the restaurant pays up to that but nothing more. If you get bad service by all means leave a tip that reflects that, but otherwise please keep in mind that anywhere there are waiters tips are expected. Not tipping doesn't hurt the restaurant, it hurts the worker who brings you your food.

4. Not controlling children

This is pretty self explanatory. Imagine someone came into your place of work and let their kids run around and scream and pick up whatever they came across, and you weren't allowed to say anything about it. We don't have to imagine it, we deal with it every day. Now imagine you were eating out, trying to enjoy a meal over the high pitched squealing of a brat who keeps bumping into your table every time he runs by. Be considerate of others, please control your kids. 

3. Making a mess

There are two types of mess makers- The accidental and the deliberate. Accidental mess is crumbs in the floor and coffee on the table. These things happen, no problem. But sometimes people are upset with their meal or their service and they want revenge, so they mess stuff up. If you smear food in your glass and in the floor , or unspool all of the toilet paper and clog the commode, or do other unspeakable things in the bathroom, then congratulations, you have just made the lowest paid people in the restaurant's job a little harder and/or more disgusting.  It's not the cooks, waiters, or management who have to clean that crap up, it's the dishwashers and janitors, who didn't do anything to you. They don't get paid anything extra for extra dirty jobs and since the mess is usually anonymous we don't know who was upset or why, so you have accomplished nothing but ruining a poor persons day.

2. Excessive complaining

This kind of ties in with number 6. If you had a legitimate problem with your meal or service we want you to tell us so we can try to do it better in the future. But, some people just can't be pleased. I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but if you have more that four complaints or you spent more than a couple of minutes stating your complaint then maybe you should just go eat somewhere else. As with many of the points on this list no one thinks they are that person, but when you have a manager at your table and they say "Well, what would you like us to do to fix it?" You are probably that person. So, if you are standing there threatening not to bring your business back remember that the staff and management usually hope you won't.

1. Coming in 30 or less minutes before closing

The other entries are in no particular order, but this is definitely number one. If you check your watch and think, "if we hurry we can get in before they close!" you are the worst enemy of everyone in the restaurant and very inconsiderate.We hate you. Even the waiters who stand to make a little extra money off of you hate you. The back kitchen is shut down and probably cleaned up, the front kitchen has everything broke down, ready to go to the dishwashers as soon as the clock hits closing time, the dishwashers are the last out and can't start until the last order is finished and all odds and ends from the front kitchen and wait line are sent to them, the wait line has the dining room swept and almost all of their cleaning duties finished, and the manager has long since sent most of the help home and the minimum amount of prepped food is on standby just in case some jerk walks in at the last minute. Then you do. You have just made anywhere from 4 to a dozen tired, dirty people's long workday even longer and undone a good part of their cleaning. You are a jerk. Also, if you didn't know that the place was about to close and you look up and see you are the only person/people there, please hurry up and leave. That friendly waiter standing in the door to the kitchen is making $2.13 per hour waiting for you to finish, and the guy with the mop who keeps peeping out can't get started until you leave. Please remember that we are people with lives too.

Which of these things are you most guilty of?

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    • rick combe profile imageAUTHOR

      rick combe 

      5 years ago from USA

      Valid point Monique, but know that hundreds of thousands of restaurant laborers and managers disagree with you. I guess it's something one has to experience. Come in at the last minute if you want, but don't expect anything fresh or of high quality.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Agree with all of these except #1.

      If the restaurant announces it closes at 11 then it has stated that the doors are open for business until 11. All other stores work that way. A person may spend an hour buying groceries, for example, but the grocery store still allows people to enter until the posted closing time.

      You can't expect customers to understand that "closing" has a whole different meaning in your business, and that you actually start closing down before the announced closing time.

      If you want the diners to be done by 11 you need to close the doors at 10.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      not controlling children should be #2 cant stand them, they should be banned from restraunts and malls.

    • profile image

      Cassie Casstleberry 

      6 years ago

      I usually won't complain unless I'm seated in a restaurant and I've been seated for a while and no one acknowledges me or offers to take my drink order. At the very least the waiter/waitress should greet me and say they'll be right with me. I have walked out of restraunts due to this.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's appalling when I read someone's review of a restaurant where they are complaining of bad service and mention that they came in within 15 to 30 minutes of closing time. Honestly what did they expect?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i am a dishwasher and number 1 does tick me off!! i hate people who come in 10 minutes before closing!!!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I am guilty of bad tipping sometimes when I don't have enough ones or feel like the service is bad. I at least try to give $3 so the server can at least get almost a full gallon of gas. I know it's not a lot but I hope to do better once the economy gets better. Great Hub!

    • rick combe profile imageAUTHOR

      rick combe 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the votes. Moonlake makes a good point, it definitely does go both ways. I realize that this is a pretty negative hub, but me and my co-workers feel like most people wouldn't do these things if they knew they were inconveniences, so I wanted to get the word out.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      I don't do any of the things above and wouldn't. I treat people with respect and I expect to be treated that way. I once had a waitress cleaning the table next to me and she threw the dishes in the pan she was loading them in so hard the stuff in there splashed on me. I had no clean clothes with me.

      So sometimes it can go both ways. My daughter was a waitress and often complained about all that you have listed.

      I voted up.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      These things drive me crazy when I am eating at a restaurant and children are out of control, or people are making messes. Do they do that at home? Its not okay to do that in public. well written hub... voted up.


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