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This etiquette applies to anyone who eats at reasonably to expensively priced restaurants.  While they are definitely do’s and don’ts for people who are actually in the service industry, it’s important to know how to handle yourself in a way that gives you an outstanding dining experience without feeling guilty. To practice good form as a server the following should always be observed:

1. Never come to my table and ask if I would like “Bottled sparkling or bottled flat water,” For $10 a bottle as though I do not have the choice to drink filtered tap or tap.
- Patrons, never feel guilty to ask for ‘regular’ or filtered water from the tap.

2. Never leave empty plates, sugar and straw wrappers, empty glasses on the table.
Patrons, never hesitate to cue your waiter or bus boy in  by stacking or downright handing them the plates before they leave the table

3. Never ever walk up to a table and simply say, “Are you guys ready to order?” or worse, “Do you know what you want?” or abominable, sit there in silence staring at your table waiting for us to reply.
Patrons, feel free to apply social pressure by saying, “Hi there!” in a clear voice with a smile and sit and stare at them as they wither beneath your kindness.  Engage further by asking their name.

4. Never ask someone to take their used fork or utensil off their plate and save it for their dinner and certainly do not physically take it off their plate yourself with your own hands
Patrons, feel free to request a fresh one if you so desire unless this does not bother you

5. Never stare at your patrons attractive date of the opposite sex longer than your same sex patron and certainly don’t flirt if they are with someone of the opposite sex.
Patrons feel free to accidentally nudge your waiter or pull him or her from his trance with a direct question

6. When a customer asks for something to accompany their meal, bring it to them to enjoy during their meal, not after. If someone asks for a side of sauce to accompany their entree, bring it as quick as you possibly can
Patrons, don’t hesitate to stand up and go make the request of another waiter or manager. Also don’t hesitate to rise and request a check if you’ve been waiting longer than five minutes.

7. Don’t check on your tables in motion, or while you’re trying to walk away because you are in such a hurry to go somewhere else. Do not ask “is everything ok?” as you are barely facing and have one eye on your next table.
Patrons apply social pressure by looking them square in the face like you’re going to say something, smile, wait for them to stop and take a breath, then speak normally

I think we can all agree that sometimes half the experience of a nice dining experience is the atmosphere and service. I have had incredible meals turn sour fast based solely on a waiters mood or lackluster attitude. While I don’t think it’s good to fight fire with fire, use some of the tips in here to help you salvage any poor dining experience.

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