How to make your server love you

It may come as a surprise, but the pay that comes with working at a newspaper does not necessarily always pay the bills, and because of that, I also work another job. 
That’s right, your local editor in chief moonlights as a server at a restaurant. First thing is first, I love waiting tables. It is a great and fun way to spend time making money. 
That being said, working in that role, I often find friends asking me when we go out to eat questions like “Oh, do you hate it when people do that?” The answer is often yes, however, I like to focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. 

With that said, here are a few things that you can do as a restaurant patron to make your server love you. 

The first thing you have to understand when you get to a restaurant, especially if it is busy, is that the hosts of the joint are doing their best to get everyone seated in a timely manner. And more often than not, they are following the directions of the manager in charge that day. 

Be nice to your host. They know you are hungry, they know you’ve been waiting a long time. It is important to recognize that they are usually freshly hired and usually still in high school working their first job. 

Second off, it is totally okay if you have a big group coming in. Many servers actually really like it, but there are a few things to know. 

First off, if you can, make sure everyone arrives at the same time. There is nothing worse than having to go back and forth fifteen times as more and more people file in every five minutes. 

The next thing, let them give their opening spiel. Servers typically have a brief script touching on the things that their managers make them say. Just let them go through their fancy drink recommendations and wait to order the water until the end.

When it comes to the bill, it isn’t a big deal if you split the check, however, if you are able to have one person take the entire bill, it makes the check out process infinitely easier on your server. 
Of course, the thing that everyone thinks is probably too hard about… the tip. When it comes to the tip, I am not here to tell you how much for any given server. However, if you want your server to know that you appreciate them a lot, paying with a card and tipping in cash is a great way to show that. 

When you tip on a card, the company automatically takes money out for taxes, however, when tipped in cash, the server is able to claim that themselves. Long story short, they get to keep more of the money that you give them. 

Lastly, if you really want your server to love you after you’ve gone, every server is a sucker for the stack of plates. In my experience, it warms my heart to see a table clean up after themselves, because it shows that they simply are thinking about making my job just a little bit easier. 

Of course, dining in is an experience for you, the patron, but making the experience smooth sailing for the server will never negatively impact your dining experience. Servers are way more likely to bend the rules for guests that they like than rude and needy ones. 

But if you aren’t going to do anything else to go above and beyond as mentioned above, just be sure to be kind. Servers are people trying to pay the bills at the end of the day, so cut them some slack.

Header Photo Servers often have to endure rude, demanding guests. In order to make their lives a little bit easier, follow the tips below to not only have a pleasant dining experience but to not make your waiter hate you. (Matias Delacroix/Associated Press)

Write to Maxwell Mayleben at

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