I don't dine out very often, but when I do, I try to be a pleasant customer unless it is absolutely impossible. Like almost every other facet of life, "you can gather more bees with honey than vinegar!", as my mom used to say. But it turns out that when it comes to your server in a restaurant, you're better off just letting them do their thing without any perceived kindly assistance from you.

I will cease and desist with one thing I have done for years from this day forward; and that is - busing the table. Apparently stacking plates, adding silverware, along with straw papers and other debris is not helpful and can actually be insulting and messy for your server. Who knew? Not me.

According to a restaurant group owner, queried by Food and Wine magazine, that is but one thing customers do under the guise of helping waitstaff, which has exactly the opposite effect. Here are a few others:

  • Don't grab items off your server's tray - you could both end up wearing the beverages or food.
  • Having your payment ready to go before anyone else in your group - this apparently slows down the process for the whole table, so be patient.
  • Helping yourself - just don't do it! If service is bad ask to speak to a manager.
  • Let your kids help the server - in fact the suggestion is, that you keep your children as distant from the server as possible, to avoid collisions, burns from hot plates and other unhappy situations.

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