Working in a Restaurant: Summer Job or Reoccurring Nightmares?

Whether you think you are the most well-mannered and generous restaurant goer there is, or, at least a close second, chances are you are not as up to par as you think you are. In your defense, it’s hard to tell what proper restaurant etiquette exactly is until you have worked in one.

Everyone should work in the restaurant industry at least once in their life. Period. You learn to have respect for the industry, how to properly tip and how to deal with various types of people.

The joyous benefits don’t even stop there; you automatically get to say goodbye to your sleep, have reoccurring dreams about the olives you forgot to take off your table’s salad, and how to put on the most fake smile known to man and maintain that smile until it hurts.

On a serious note, from this summer job, I have learned how to recover from mistakes quickly, stay patient and how to multitask. Most importantly, it has provided me with a lot of important life skills.

In case you haven’t had the pleasure of working as a waiter or waitress yet, here are some “don’ts” to keep in mind when you go out to eat:

Splitting the check

If it’s more than three ways, just don’t. You will be classified by waitstaff as the devil.

Awareness of our hours

Coming in four minutes before we close and expecting us to be thrilled you are there. GREAT… WELCOME, COME ON IN.

Respect for your server

We are not servants…stop snapping your fat fingers at me like I will come running (even though I have to because it’s my job). We are human beings, let us keep our dignity.


Please tip me.

Decision making

PLEASE, please, please don’t make me stand there and wait while you take five minutes to decide what to order. I could be getting table 21’s drinks and running the check for that nice couple in the corner. NOPE. Instead I have to stand here and watch you read the menu like it’s War and Peace.

Asking if water is free

Yes. It is.


When you spill blue cheese on your table and I try and help by moving some of your stuff, don’t accuse me of trying to steal your wallet. Thanks. (True story).


If I accidentally spill water, do not expect to win big time. A little water trickled onto your ankle, so no, you may not have a 50 percent discount on your meal. (Another true story).


Where do I even begin. Do not give your child options and make me wait while they decide (which you will ultimately decide for them) if they want soda or milk. It’s great that they are learning to talk to strangers and be big boys and girls but I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS. Also, take them outside if they are screaming. Everyone in the restaurant is suffering from it and you are being rude.

Even though this list could go on forever, at least now you know some of it. Happy dining.


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