Illustration: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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Half-set tables

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to restaurants is when the server shows you to a table that is half-empty. I’m not talking about a simple lack of ketchup, salt, or any other condiments that might be useful, I mean a table that looks as if it has only been partially prepared.

Recently, there have been times where I was shown to a table that had one or two sets of cutlery, a severe shortage of napkins, or a complete lack of a drink menu.

I can even recall an instance when I went with a large group and there were only two menus provided across the tables.

While most servers are good at responding to requests for more items, I feel that a complete place setting on arrival should be more of an industry standard going forward.

Natasha Lomonossoff

Long wait times

Alright, I know that there are many factors to consider when one’s order comes late. I’m aware of how difficult it must be for cooks to deliver many different orders in a timely fashion. However, there are times when slow delivery cannot be credibly justified.

I was eating at a small sushi restaurant a couple of years ago, where another couple and I were the only customers. I had made my order, figuring that the sushi wouldn’t take too long (based on my past experience).

Boy, was I wrong. It took well about half an hour to receive my food, and I ended up rushing by the time I got it to avoid being late for a show.

Clearly this was a case of plain tardiness, which detracted from my overall experience.

Natasha Lomonossoff

Overstuffed menus

Restaurants need to stop trying to be all things to all people. Stick with a theme (French, Italian, vegan, etc.) and serve a simple selection of perfected dishes. 

If you can get chicken cacciatore and fish and chips at the same place, the manager is having an identity crisis. Stop pandering to the masses—declare your specialty and stick with it.

Holton Shulman

Pretentious staff

It’s like having a restaurant populated with that one friend who has it all, knows it, and talks about it. Tasteless.

The staff at a place like this seem to have a superiority complex, which quickly comes off as pure snobbery. A little bit of modesty goes a long way, especially since most first-time customers are afraid to try new places for this very reason.

Holton Shulman



Control your children

There are few things worse than sitting down in a nice restaurant with your companion, only to have a child start screaming bloody murder—serving said child and their impatient parents is one of them.

If you take your child to a restaurant, don’t expect the food to be ready by a certain time. The kitchen will not prioritize you because of your choice of dinner partner.

I served a couple and their toddler, and not only did they insist that I bring their child every crayon in the box as he proceeded to break each one of them, but they also complained loudly when their food wasn’t served in under 10 minutes.They also left me a generous tip of $0. Do not be these people.

Savannah Awde

Don’t tell us about your diet restrictions at the last minute

If you have a food allergy, intolerance, or need some other dietary accommodation, do not wait until your food is being served to tell your server. This one sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised.

One time, within 15 minutes of placing a couple’s order, I had a lady point out to me that her dining partner was diabetic and needed his food sooner than I anticipated it would be ready. Needless to say, if you’re diabetic and need food urgently, please don’t head to a packed restaurant.

Savannah Awde

Don’t hit on us

This one makes my blood boil.

Feel free to chat with your server, but consider the topic of our bodies entirely off limits. Not only is it degrading to have to work tirelessly for a customer that’s objectifying your every move, but you force us to walk an uncomfortable line between putting on a smile to earn your tip and sticking up for our right to feel respected and safe at work. Twisted, right?

If you’re the type of person who hits on servers, and you haven’t been convinced by this article to change your ways, just remember that we’re super close with the ones who make your food, so tread lightly.

Savannah Awde