The 10 Worst Things That Customers Do In Restaurants

Restaurant disappointment
Restaurant disappointment

We’ve all seen that horrible customer in a restaurant: In fact, we may have even have been that bad-mannered customer a time or two. The fact of the matter is there are lots of ways for customers to misbehave while dining out. Make sure you’re avoiding these 10 worst things that customers do in restaurants.

Restaurant customers do bad things for a number of reasons. Some are having a bad day while others are simply immature. Make sure you are on your best behavior by avoiding the following.

1. Becoming Ansel Adams When the Food Arrives

It’s true that technology has brought us many good things over the years, but those patrons who insist on photographing and posting pictures of their food are beyond annoying. However, many customers feel the utmost need to share their food photography with the world, despite how impolite it is to use a smart phone to capture a dish it all angles. It’s become so out of control that many high-end restaurants in New York City have banned the use of cell phones altogether, according to the New York Times.

2. Bringing a Pet

It’s bad enough trying to dine next to humans behaving badly, but it’s that much worse when they bring their furry friends. Obviously, we’re not talking about service animals here, but those people who insist on bringing their little dogs that can fit in a purse and such. If we wanted to eat while listening to barking, we would have had a picnic at the dog park.

3. Attempting to Break the Record for Send-Backs

This one is high on the gripe list of many waiters: the customer who can’t be pleased and must have everything sent back to the kitchen. Sure, it’s one thing if your medium rare steak has a coat of charcoal, but some people are too demanding about the perfection of a dish. You’ll know this is you if you’ve asked to speak to the chef in order to give him a piece of your mind. If your palate is really that demanding, then stay home and make it yourself.

4.  Asking the Staff to Perform Mathematical Equations

Another bad behavior from customers that really irks waiters is asking them to figure out how much everyone owes on separate checks. It’s not that they can’t do it; it’s just that it’s a real pain in the butt and they have better things to do with their time, like make money.

5. Letting the Kids Run Wild

It’s definitely okay to bring the kids when dining out at most restaurants, but there’s no reason why they should be allowed to misbehave. It’s no wonder that bringing a passel of unruly kids to a restaurant is the first on a list of things that waiters dread.

If customers can’t keep their kids in their seats and the noise level lower than that of a jumbo jet, then the adults should probably get a sitter and leave the kids at home. If parents want to sit while the kids run around, then take them to Chuck E. Cheese.

6. Performing Grooming

There used to be something called manners while dining, like those ‘don’t put your elbows on the table’ set of rules, but many have fallen by the wayside. While putting your elbows on the table isn’t a deal-breaker, performing any function that is generally done in the bathroom is. It’s bad form to pick your teeth, put on makeup, brush your hair, or even file your nails while sitting at the table in public view.

7. Refusing to Tip

The Internet is filled with stories of patrons refusing to tip for illogical reasons that span from believing the waiter was too fat to not agreeing with the perceived political, religious, or lifestyle views of said waiter or waitress. True, some such stories are bogus, but the tip is not the place to announce your own views. Instead, tip generously—with actual money—and get a good bumper sticker.

8. Being Rude

Many restaurant patrons have turned customer rudeness into an art form, treating the wait staff like minions. There’s the ‘I’m-reading-the-menu-so-I-can’t-acknowledge-your-presence’ move, the ‘my-phone-is-more-interesting-than-you’ trick, and the  ‘come-here-servant’ snap or wave that are all unacceptable ways to treat your server.

Of the 100 items on’s list of things restaurant patrons should never do, about 90% are about customer rudeness. Unfortunately, it might take a little bit more control than you would expect, as a CNN article cites research that suggests we are hard-wired to be rude to restaurant staff.

9. Lingering Unnecessarily

Many restaurants need to turn over tables in a set amount of time to ensure profits and tips for wait staff. Lingering over empty dessert dishes or coffee cups may seem romantic, but it’s really a huge pain for the establishment. Move the ambiance to a bar or private location.

10. Commit Thievery

While it might make good fodder for television sitcoms, stealing from a restaurant is rock-bottom low. Whether you are dining-and-dashing or helping yourself to a new set of silverware, it still hurting someone’s bottom line.

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