I’ve been in the serving industry for six years now and have witnessed rudeness you thought was only in the movies, and I haven’t even worked in fine dining. I’m not sure customers always realize how awful they are until their friend gives the server the “I’m so sorry” look, if they ever realize at all. There are many things that should be illegal for customers to do, like stiff their waiter or snap their fingers for attention. Here is a list that people who have never worked in the service industry should know.

– Servers literally make nothing. The only income they receive is your tips. So, if you leave $4 on a $45 bill, after they already were running around like a chicken with their head cut off for an entire hour for you, you just took away their rent.

– Back in the day [10 years ago] it was customary to leave 12-15% tip. Well, dear readers, inflation occurred. Which mean the new standard for great service is a minimum 20%. Unless it was poor service, then it is 15%.

– Please keep in mind that you are not the only customer. A server has at least 5 other tables just as needy as you are. And if a restaurant is packed, you are still required to tip that 20%.

-Don’t make your server suffer because there was a problem in the kitchen. If your lunch order is messed up, it is 8 times out of 10 the kitchen’s fault. Don’t take it out on the server.

– Servers/hosts/bartenders/bussers. We are all people. We have families and friends and kids and bills to pay and [believe it or not] lives outside of work. Don’t treat us like we’re below you. Look us in the eye. When we ask you how your day is, don’t reply with “Ice tea, sugar on the side.” I’m pretty sure that’s not a feeling.

– If you have children: THE WAIT STAFF ARE NOT BABYSITTERS. Don’t expect us to know where your children are nor be able to control them. That is your job. When your children are running around the restaurant interrupting our customers nice time or knocking over chairs or eating other people’s food [oh yes, this happens more often than you would think] it is going to be your fault when hot soup is poured all over the child because it was too busy being out of control to see the food runner carrying ten plates on one tray. Please, keep your kids in their chair and keep them under control.

– Most importantly, if you cannot afford to go out to eat AND tip your server, DON’T GO OUT TO EAT. That server has to tip out hosts, bussers and bartenders.  If you don’t have enough money to ensure that your amazing waiter can do that and have enough for themselves, get creative in the kitchen because you are not welcome at a restaurant. Oh, and verbal tips to do not pay the bills.

Happy Dining.