How to deal with sh***y restaurant service. The Do’s and Dont’s

From a former server, To an everyday customer.    Custy mad

Your sitting down at the hole in the wall restaurant in town and the service hasn’t exactly been how you’ve imagined it to be. Drinks go unfilled, food comes out 30 minutes after you thought it was coming out, and you’ve seen your waitress two times since you’ve sat down. This is the classic case of poor service. Maybe it was a server with little experience and just got overwhelmed and forgot, or maybe they couldn’t give a hoot about their job and run on their own time. Bottom line you were not satisfied with your choice of dining out and you don’t know what to do. Remain calm and don’t be the person who blows up on the server and makes a scene, nobody wants that. Just follow these tips and so you can help maybe change the experience of the next guest and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

DO Sit where the host seats you.

A host has one job and that is to seat the servers in rotation so one server doesn’t get jammed with 4 tables at once and everybody gets an even amount so they can potentially get paid the same. If your grandmother is in a wheelchair or your back can’t last the hour or so in a hard chair that is very understandable and the staff will recognize it.

DONT Have a negative attitude towards the staff

If you come in with a bad attitude and are showing you are visibly annoyed with something your server is going to try and make as little trips as possible to your table. Not out of annoyance but to avoid confrontation in case anything goes wrong. The server 9 times out of 10 is going to put on at least a front that they are in a good mood, so to help them get comfortable with your table your going to want to make them feel comfortable as well. Your attitude toward your server is going to go a long way. Being an enjoyable table that they WANT to come back to will make your dining experience a hell of a lot better than coming in acting visibly upset and taking it out on the waiter/waitress. You get what you give.

DO Give a complaint/suggestion to the manager

When your dining at a restaurant on any sort of night there will always be a manager either on the dining floor in the kitchen just moments away from helping you. Make sure you ask any employee you see working nearby to kindly get the manager. The point of getting the manager and not the server is because the manager is there to correct the problem. That drink you ordered was too strong/too weak, they’ll be able to comp it right off your tab then be able to go correct the problem from a managerial standpoint. They are the ones in charge and what they say goes. If your situation lands mainly in the servers lap, the manager will be happily to correct that as well. Managers need these complaints to know what they can do so that the issue won’t come up again. If a server from day 1 has been in over their head and visibly cannot handle the job the complaints/suggestions will serve as a tool for the manager to use when they need evidence to give that particular server less responsibilities, or a set of which they can handle. Don’t look at complaints in a negative way, a lot of time they can be used for the good of the restaurant and help the staff out a lot. The positive side of doing this is that the management will do almost anything for you to make sure you don’t post a public comment about their establishment or call into headquarters. I’ve seen people eat an entire steak including their sides and complain about it being undercooked…only to get an entire new meal for free. (Try to avoid this).

DONT Stiff your servertip-amount-chart

There are three types of people in the world. The ones who think they are entitled to not tip, people who understand the industry and provide any sort of tip, and a former waiter/waitress that will leave a very generous tip. For those who don’t believe in tipping your server, heres something that may want to reconsider your actions. Your average server makes $3.25/hour to $5/hour. If you do the math working 40 hours a week minus taxes you would imagine the check is somewhere between $30-50 dollars depending on your state taxes and such. The tips that they make off your table is what is putting food on their table and in their mouths at home. They do not have the luxury of picking who gets to eat with them either so don’t waste their time by giving them nothing when there really wasn’t anything wrong with the meal or service. Ill switch the spectrum and put it in terms of looking out for you, the non-tipper. You may be a regular at that nice restaurant down the street, love the place, and has had exceptional service from the staff. If you are a bad tipper the staff will know this. As someone who has worked in the industry since I was 16 i have seen people fight over who had to take your type of table. If the servers have to fight over your table because you are known in the establishment as someone who stiffs the waiter, you most likely are not going to get good service.


At the end of the day it is completely alright for you to be unhappy with your service and let the staff know. They are their to help  you and keep you coming back for more to spend money. It’s customer service and most are well prepared to answer your concerns and complaints. But need be, i hope these few tips help you with your experience in the future as your dining at the next place you and your friend decide on.