I never worked in the restaurant business myself, which I consider lucky because I would probably be terrible at it.
Any job in the food business naturally involves having both fast, reliable service skills and a warm, friendly personality for your customers.
There's a lot going on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant that only your servers and the chefs are privy to.
In a Reddit thread, actual waiters and waitresses shared the seven pet peeves that drive them crazy, and you're probably guilty of at least one.
1. Closing Out The Restaurant
A midnight snack is tasty, and a candlelit dinner is romantic, but if you show up less than an hour before a restaurant closes the staff are probably secretly furious with you.
That's because everyone has their own job to do as a restaurant shuts down for the night, including servers. The longer you hang around sipping coffee, the later they have to work.
"If you are going to the THAT guy that comes in at closing time, at least throw an extra [five] onto the tip for the person who has to sit and wait to leave work," suggested Reddit user crumb_buckets.
2. Building A Tower Of Plates
Maybe your parents taught you this was the polite thing to do: stacking plates into a tower so your server could carry them all away at once.
But in a busy restaurant, you could actually be making more work for your server. Reddit user Mouthbabies explains:
"Please don't stack your plates into a monolithic pile thinking that it helps us. It doesn't, it actually makes things harder."
"I might want to stack three entree plates on my arm and then put other small plates and silverware on top of that. If everyone stacks things I can only bus two people's plates, if I stack I can get many more."
Although, sliding your plates towards the end of the table, so your server can reach them, is always appreciated.
3. Treating Your Cup Like A Trashcan
Here's a mindless habit that most customers never think twice about. At the end of the meal, you pile mint wrappers, crumpled receipts, and other junk on your plates.
Those can easily be scraped off into the trash, but when you leave garbage in a cup, that's another story.
"I've had to pull pennies, crayons/crayon wrappers, straw wrappers, napkins, you name it out of cups," says Reddit user alexkria.
"It's frustrating! Do they think that we dump the leftover drink/ice in the garbage or something? No! It goes down the sink!"
4. Asking For A Different Table
Maybe you just didn't know this, but a busy restaurant is not like a food court.
Most restaurants have a complicated system to divvy up tables, servers, and floorspace evenly. Ask for a new seat and you could be stepping on somebody's toes.
"When a host sits you at a particular table, it's usually because that server is up next," explained Reddit user indecentXpo5ure.
"That server is, presumably, going to give you the best service because he or she is (again, presumably) the least busy at the moment."
Then again, if your table is seriously dirty or unfit in some way, asking to be reseated in the same area is no big deal.
5. Tipping Without Common Sense
We won't get into the nitty gritty of tip percentage, because honestly that can vary by time, place, and restaurant type.
But when calculating your tip, use a little common sense to avoid stiffing your server, who is often making less than your state's minimum wage.
"When using a Groupon, on anything similar (discounts included), please, please, please tip on the original price," said Reddit user DrunkenZombie.
"I cannot stress enough how much servers hate Groupon these days due to this."
Also remember that all-you-can-eat buffets offer long meals at cheap prices, so your server deserves a little more for their time than the bill suggests.
And when dining in a large group, make sure that the tip doesn't get lost in the complicated math of dividing your bill.
6. Ignoring Your Children
We're all in favor of parents taking their young children out to eat.
Parents shouldn't miss their chance to enjoy a nice meal, and reasonable people understand that children are not well-behaved 100% of the time.
But ignoring your children while they run amok in the restaurant is not safe or responsible.
"There have been numerous occasions where families will come in and sit their their children at another table and expect me to, a) keep track of which children's orders belong to what parent's bill as they run around the place and, b) babysit their kids as they have a great chat at another table," said Reddit user wendylauren.
Lucavious added that he can't stand "parents who let their children handle all their food and then leave all of it all over the floor for me to have to vacuum and sweep up."
7. Taking A Call At The Table
Can some business calls just not be avoided? Yes.
Does that make your server more understanding about the phone glued to your ear? Definitely not.
They're not being rude, they're trying to be polite, as Reddit user dracoamator explains:
"I was raised to never interrupt a conversation either between adults or while they are on the phone. This has stuck with me."
"If you sit down and you are on the phone, I will come up to the table, leave some napkins, wait a moment and if you do not get off the phone I will walk away."
And, please, don't try to order using cell phone sign language, just put the phone down.
"I hate it when you come in, and expect me to decipher your gestures to where you rather sit or if you're ready to order," said synnnd. "It's difficult for me to interrupt your important phone call."