10 Important Etiquette Rules Everyone Needs To Follow When Dining At A Restaurant

restaurant rules

It’s no secret that when dining at a restaurant, you can’t really just make yourself at home. You’re encouraged to relax and enjoy yourself, but there are rules you need to follow so you don’t make a fool out of yourself!

If you’ve ever worked at a restaurant, you’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. When dining out, you don’t want to be the butt of the employees’ jokes. Follow these simple restaurant rules!


1. Wait to be seated by a host/hostess


Don’t just walk into a restaurant and seat yourself. The host stand is there for a reason! If no one is at the host stand, be patient and wait for the host to return. Hosts have side work and can’t always be at the host stand 24/7, especially on slow days.

2. Treat the wait staff with respect

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Seriously, 9 times out of 10, your server has other jobs and works this part-time waiter shift to make ends meet. They probably don’t want to be doing this, but they have to. Treat them with respect and help their shift be a bit more bearable. They’ll remember you for that.


3. Tip well

Lars Plougmann // Flickr

This one should be obvious, but some people still don’t understand. Most restaurants pay their servers less than $6 hourly and they rely on tips to make a living. If they give you impeccable service, but you can’t afford to tip 20%, you might want to reconsider dining out.

4. Don’t call out to your waiter, wave them down, or snap your fingers

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They aren’t your personal servants or butlers. You can’t just snap your fingers or ring a bell when you need them. Kindly make eye contact with them to signal that you need something. If you really just cannot get their attention, just say ‘excuse me,’ as they’re passing by. If you’re having an issue with your food, be mindful that it’s likely not their fault.

5. Don’t leave a huge mess on the table when you leave

messy table

It’s hard not to leave a mess when you have a big family outing in addition to kids in the party, but you should try your best not to leave a huge mess with food all over the table and the floor. Try to compile all the plates together and wipe down whatever mess you made with the available napkin. It’s not your house and you wouldn’t treat your kitchen table that way.

6. Tell your server in advance about splitting the check

Dan4th Nicholas // Flickr

If you have a big party coming in and you know for a fact you’ll all want separate checks, just tell your server right away. It saves the stress of splitting up each appetizer, entree, and dessert per check on a computer. It’s really a headache for servers and they’re not going to remember what was on each check.

Check out some of the other etiquette rules on the next page!

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