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Restaurant Dining Etiquette

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Valet and Maitre D'

If you use valet parking, be polite to the attendant and when leaving, reward him with a tip.

Once inside, if you are waiting to be seated, be careful not to block the paths of others. It is traditional for a man to check his topcoat. Ladies may or may not.

If you arrive at the restaurant before others with whom you intend to dine, wait for them before being seated. If multiple parties are joining you, you may be seated once two parties have arrived. Tell the hostess or maitre d' the names of the others.

When being seated, a woman will walk behind the hostess with the man following her. In a mixed group, all of the women precede the men to the table. It is permissible to order drinks while waiting but not food.



The Host and the Wine Glasses

If your group meal has an official host—the person who extended the invitation and is footing the bill—this person should direct everyone where to sit. If you are the host, sit with your back to the window with the great view so your guests can enjoy it. If your party has a host and a hostess, they sit opposite each other. If there is a guest of honor, e.g., a relative celebrating a birthday, they will sit to the right of the hostess if a man; to the right of the host if a woman.

Ladies, keep your handbags in your lap or by your feet but never on the table. The big wine glass is for red, the small one for white.



Waiters & Servers

When the server comes over, if you are the host, instead of making demands, say "Hello!" If he asks questions, respond with words not grunts. If he recites the specials, look at him while he does so. If he mentions a food you find repulsive don't make a face or a noise. Have a little comportment about yourself.

Ask if everyone is ready to order; if not inform the server you need more time. If you need your server, try to catch her eye and look at her expectantly. You may raise your hand only as high as your chin, if you need to signal. If you must call out "Waiter?" do so softly. This means no yelling, no frantic waving of your arms, no finger snapping. I wouldn't call her "honey" unless she is your wife or daughter.

Let's not hem and haw over the menu while your waiter stands there waiting. If you need more time, politely ask for it. The words "please" and "thank you" should be directed at your server. If you want separate checks, please tell your server right up front. Close your menu once you have decided what you want. This is a signal that you are ready.

If you are a guest at dinner, only order an appetizer or dessert if your host does. If leisurely conversation is the aim, it is recommended that you order foods which are easy to eat.



Choose and Pour the Wine

Wine is best ordered after the main courses have been chosen. The most qualified person at the table should choose the wine. When the waiter displays the bottle, confirm with a nod. If given a sample, sniff, take a sip, and say "That's fine" unless the wine is bad. You may swirl the wine a bit first, to release its aromas, but not in a showy way.

If the waiter is pouring wine and you don't want any—place your fingers over the glass. The Host should refill the glasses of his guests. Fill a white wine glass three-quarters full; red wine halfway.



Appetizers and Utensils

If a platter of appetizers is being passed around the table, each diner holds it while the person next to him serves himself. If you want to taste someone else's food, don't have them feed it to you and don't spear it off their plate. Pass them your bread plate for a spoonful. It's acceptable to take home leftovers unless you are attending a business meal or wedding reception.

If you drop a utensil, or your napkin, don't pick it up. Instead notify the waiter. Likewise, tell the waiter if you've dropped food on the floor, so it can be cleaned up before the next diners are seated. If you notice a utensil or glass is unclean, quietly tell the waiter.



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Hosts, Guests, Checks, and Cell Phones

If you are host, arrive a few minutes early. Inform the maitre d' that you will be taking care of the check. If someone comes late, after you are seated, stand as you extend your greeting. Tell your guests to feel free to order anything from the menu. If someone is served the wrong food, the host should politely inform the waiter.

As you review the check, do so discretely without mentioning to your guests how much the bill is. To signal the waiter, place the check holder at the edge of the table with the money or credit card inside, sticking out a bit.

It is alright to complain discretely to management if the food or service is below par. They can't correct their flaws if not brought to their attention. On the other hand, if the food or service has been exceptional, be sure to let the manager know so your server or chef may be justly appreciated.

If you are a guest, do not order the most expensive item on the menu. Try to stay within the price range as the other guests. Only send food back if there is something wrong with it—not because you don't like it. Never complain about the food or service, as this will reflect poorly on your host's taste in restaurants.

Do not reach past your personal dining space. If you need something from the table, ask someone to please pass it to you.

When conversing at dinner, avoid unpleasant subjects such as illness or surgery. The moment you walk into a restaurant: turn off that cell phone. It's not a good idea to try and sneak the check from the host.

No Cell Phones


Children, Buffets & Fast Food

If you take your children to a restaurant, explain to them beforehand what you expect. They will order from a menu and everyone will remain in their seats during the meal. If your child is irritating other diners, put a stop to it immediately. Children have a hard time sitting still for a long time so long dinners with many courses are not a wise choice. If they get out of hand, it's best to leave.

Two final quick notes: If you eat at a buffet, use a clean plate every time you reload. If you eat fast food, hand the money to the cashier rather than putting it on the counter.




James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 02, 2012:

Thomas Zacharias— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

Thomas Zacharias on February 25, 2012:

Interesting and informative post of dining etiquette. Here's my take on it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 28, 2011:

novascotiamiss— Thank you sharing that fascinating story. That is funny. I have known many people just like your friends. In fact, at one time in the distant past, I could have been one of them. That was before I learned the art of being a gentleman. :-)

I appreciate your compliments, my dear. It was good of you to come by and brighten up my day. Godspeed!

Novascotiamiss from Nova Scotia, Canada on July 27, 2011:

James, this is an awesome hub which reminds me of an incidence. While in London (UK) I went to Brown's Hotel (very pompous establishment) for their world-famous afternoon tea with a female friend and a guy she brought along. While I was neatly dressed for the occasion, my female friend wore a long knitted sweater and a pair of torn and washed out jeans and a backpack, as it was fashion in the 90's. The guy wore a pair of dress pants and a neatly ironed shirt. They wouldn't let us in and insisted that he must wear a jacket and tie. They had some on loan for non-conforming guests. No mention about the torn jeans... it was hillarious!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 10, 2010:

sherrylou57— I hear ya. Our etiquette in restaurants is sorely lacking. I hope this article helps just a little. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

sherrylou57 from Riverside on November 09, 2010:

Hello James, I was a waitress and this was the hardest job that I ever had to do. People were so rude and the harder I would try to please people they would be rude, so I just did my work. The pay is terrible.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 03, 2010:

tonymac04— You are welcome. I am glad we are in agreeance, Tony. And we concur about cell phones.

Love and Peace to you


Tony McGregor from South Africa on November 03, 2010:

Very useful information well presented - thank you.

I think the admonition about cell phones is very good. I hve heard of restaurants which require guests to check in their phones. Meals should not be disturbed by cell phones!

Love and peace


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 22, 2010:

dreamreachout— Thank you for visiting my Hub and for leaving your kind comments. :-)

dreamreachout on April 22, 2010:

This hub is all about sublime grace and cordiality while dining .. Wonderful!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 22, 2010:

magnoliazz— Why, thank you, my dear. So are you. I surely did not think you were addressing me personally.

magnoliazz from Wisconsin on April 22, 2010:

LOL..that last commnet I made sounded like I was addressing you personally and that was not the intention at all, just a very aggravating habit of mine. I always write these comments fast and furious!

You James, are the epitome of grace and good manners.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 21, 2010:

magnoliazz— Why, thank you, dear! Ah! Cattiness, eh? I never ask for any substitutions or alterations to a menu. If I didn't like the menu, I should have eaten somewhere else! :-)

I totally agree with your remarks and I thank you for making them here.

magnoliazz from Wisconsin on April 21, 2010:

Another well written, great hub!

I would like to add another point. Lots of times, I will notice that women can be rather nasty to a waitress, especially if the waitress is younger and more attractive.

All I can say is they can save their drama queen act for home and should act like a mature adult when out in public.

I also think its bad manners to ask for endless substitutions and alterations on the menu and then take it out on the waitress when you can't have what you want.

If you want to be that fussy, maybe you should just stay home and give the waitress and everyone else a break. Don't be a big pain in the butt, other people don't think you are cute, funny or smart when you harass the poor waitress.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 15, 2010:

kea--- Thank you very much! I appreciate it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 15, 2010:

Dmrfam--- You are welcome. Thank you for reading my Hub and for leaving your comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

kea on March 15, 2010:

Excellent hub, as usual!

Dmrfam from India on March 14, 2010:

Thanks for the detailed hub. I do follow etiquettes however, realised there were few I was not aware of. Thanks for the info.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 26, 2010:

Ceasar2006--- Thank you very much! Welcome to HubPages!

Ceasar2006 on January 25, 2010:

Great points!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 04, 2010:

Duchess OBlunt— I am well pleased that you were. I will be honored if you link it in your Hub. I'll be coming over to read your work soon.

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad you liked it.

Duchess OBlunt on January 03, 2010:

I was very excited to come across this hub. I am in the process of writing a hub for which this is a perfect addition! I hope you don't mind that I link it?

I wish I had this resource available to me when I first came from the country! It would have made the transition a little less painful. Great info for the cousin from the country.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 24, 2009:

stars439— Thank you. A few good manners goes a long way. I only enjoy etiquette because many of these things please those around us. God Bless You and Merry Christmas!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on December 23, 2009:

Very nice hub. Educational and important information that I find reassuring. I have a few good manners, however there is much more here in specifics . God Bless You.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 08, 2009:

Abe Normal— I love it! The next time I am in a pretentious restaurant I will take you up on your suggestions. Very funny!

Abe Normal from Gigantic Ocean Seaboard on December 08, 2009:


Dealing with the Waiter

I think when you eat out you should have a little fun; it's good for digestion. Simple things. After the waiter recites a long list of specials, ask him if they serve cow feet.

Even some low-end places are pretentious. The menu can't merely say "cheeseburger." They have to get wordy. So go along with them. When you order your food, use their language. But you must look right at the waiter; no fair reading from the menu. Look him in the eye and say, "I'll have the succulent, fresh-ground, government-inspected, choice, all-beef, six-ounce patty on your award-winning sesame-seed bun, topped with a generous slice of Wisconsin's finest Grade-A cheddar cheese made from only premium milk and poured from large, galvanized steel cans, having originally been extracted from a big, fat, smelly, champion blue-ribbon cow with a brain disease."

Continue that style with other items: Instead of asking for a glass of water, say you'd like a "cylindrical, machine-blown, clear drinking vessel filled with nature's own colorless, odorless, extra-wet, liquid water."*

Abe Normal,

Ars longa, vita brevis

*George Carlin, "Brain Droppings"/ 1997, Hyperion/NY,NY

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2009:

GRivers— Thank you! Tipping could be a hub in and of itself. When a cashier puts your money on the counter: pick it up! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2009:

habee— You are surely welcome, dear. Anytime. I'm glad you had it down.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2009:

Carol the Writer— Thank you. No Garcon. Right on. You are welcome. I appreciate your appearance here.

GRivers on December 05, 2009:

Another great Hub! Another great point is the tipping factor, knowing when to tip and how much to tip. I particularly like the putting the money in the hand of the cashier, but what about when they place your change on the counter instead of placing it in your hands?

Holle Abee from Georgia on December 05, 2009:

Thanks for answering the valet question, James. I was on target, thank goodness.

Carolyn Blacknall from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2009:

Great hub. Very good information. I confess, I have at some times raised my hand higher than my chin. Also never call a waiter "garcon" in a French restaurant; it is the equivalent of saying "boy". Thanks for writing. - Carol

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2009:

Stephen Beck— I know! I have been on a roll. That's why I swore to myself to take five straight days off my writing anything—and I did. I appreciate your interest and support. Thank you and you are welcome.

Stephen Beck on December 04, 2009:

You've been prolific lately. I'll need to read the whole weekend to keep up. And who knows how long to fix any etiquette issues! Thanks for the hub!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2009:

RedElf— Thank you! I appreciate your visit and comments.

RedElf from Canada on December 03, 2009:

Great info! So nice to see things so nicely spelled out.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2009:

barryrutherford— Thank you. I like my cell phone, but I never take it into restaurants or people's homes or meetings of any kind. I'd rather focus on the people in my presence. I appreciate your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2009:

bgpappa— Nice to hear from you, my old friend. Well now you know! No more excuses. Thanks for the compliment.

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on December 03, 2009:

Good Hub James, Cell phones are becoming a real menace at social gatherings/occasions I wish more could be done !

bgpappa from Sacramento, California on December 03, 2009:

Wow, have I been doing it wrong!!!

Great article. Thanks for the read.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2009:

kebennett1— Thank you! There is no explaining a man's friends sometimes. :) Thank you for your excellent comments. You always have something interesting to add.

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on December 02, 2009:

James, bravo once again! Restaurant Etiquette is a dying art! Simple manners is rarely seen. Many people do not know how much to tip their server for standard care, let alone exemplary care! "Can I have...Hey waitress...Just wait a minute, I'm not ready...I want my steak rare, not medium, not well done, do you think you can handle that..." Rude, rude, rude! We go out for lunch every Sunday after Church with a couple from our Church. The man is my husbands friend. He is so rude and obnoxious, he embarrasses me every time. I can't believe my husband likes him. His wife is alright, but I feel sorry for her.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2009:

Linda Myshrall— What a pleasure to hear from you again! Thank you for your compliments. I live in Orlando and I have been right to that restaurant several times.

A PhD and a Blackbelt. Love the wittiness! Thank you for visiting me and leaving your kind words.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2009:

susansisk— You are most welcome. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Susan Sisk from Georgia, USA on December 01, 2009:

Thanks for the info. I didn't know it was wrong to pick up a dropped utensil.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2009:

habee— I tip the valet between $1 at a busy luncheon where you can see they are not moving the cars very far and where the minimum of courtesy has been extended. I have tipped $5 at a fancy restaurant at night where the valet had quite a run but exhibited a friendly attitude.

A saddle and a bale of Hay!? That's funny. I'm grinnin'. Country come to town. Perfect. I love your first sentence. Great dialect there. That's me alright. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2009:

ehern— Thank you. Red Lobster is a good joint. I enjoy the Olive Garden, too. Both have their headquarters here in Orlando. I appreciate your compliment.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2009:

carolina muscle— Yes, they are. Thank you for your compliment. I appreciate the visit.

Holle Abee from Georgia on December 01, 2009:

Why, James, you all sound like a puhfect Suthun gentleman! Great advice. When we dine in Atlanta or on Amelia Island, I'm never sure how much to tip the valet. What's the "going rate"? When my daughter and I went to the Ritz-Carlon at Amelia for the first time, I was embarrassed for the valet to park my SUV. It had a saddle and a bale of hay in the back! Country come to town for sure - lol.

ehern33 on December 01, 2009:

Nice refresher course here James. Red Lobster is the fanciest I have been to in years..LOL, still politeness is the key word even if you don't know the ins and outs of formality. Great work!!

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on December 01, 2009:

Manners are so rare these days! Great post!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2009:

Pachuca213— Thank you! Good manners and good taste are a mark of distinction in most all situations. What a blessing for you that you had this teaching while growing up. I very much appreciate this visit and your comments.

Pachuca213 on December 01, 2009:

Fantastic! I never really thought about the fact that most people don't know these things!And you are right manners have gone by the wayside nowadays as everything else!

I May have grown up in the ghetto...but my family (mothers side) was very well to do and thank goodness she raised me right with proper etiquette! I am glad to say that I took after her in taste as well. Great hub!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2009:

Pamela99— Thank you! It sounds as if you were raised a proper lady. Manners have gone by the wayside as everything formerly held sacred or proper has been deconstructed. I hope etiquette makes a comeback, as it smooths out life a bit for all of us.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 01, 2009:

Wonderful hub James. You covered many important areas to make dining more pleasant for everyone. I remember my mother giving us instructions at the dinner table, such as chew with your mouth closed, how to hold a fork properly, left hand to be kept in your lap unless cutting meat,etc. I see many people in restaurants that are rude and loud with the waitress so I'm glad you covered that topic so well.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

Truth From Truth— I hope they will. You are welcome and thanks to you for your affirmation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

Calling Crow— Why, thank you for saying so. Ah. The Golden Rule. Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think you recognize the exceptional and I appreciate that in a person. Thanks for coming to visit.

Truth From Truth from Michigan on November 30, 2009:

This along with your other Etiquette hubs are very helpful for society if they would use them. Thanks

Calling Crow on November 30, 2009:

I do love reading your hubs! And thank you many times for this in particular! So few people are even aware that there is such a thing as manners. And even worse, most forget to treat people they way they themselves would like to be treated. To receive the exceptional, one should be exceptional! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

GPAGE! I am tickled pink that you like these Hubs. A lady who was on my trip to The Holy Land recommended this topic to me—apparently she was impressed with my manners. :D

A lot of people are confused about etiquette if they have never been to White Gloves or similar sessions. It feels good to provide this service and see it appreciated. Thanks for letting me know.

GPAGE from California on November 30, 2009:

JAMES! Fantastic u are! YES! LOVE the "decode a place setting" pic! Really made me giggle......I'm glad you are reminding people of the "proper" way to act!

LOVE these "etiquette" hubs! G

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

Moonchild60— You are welcome. It's great to see you again. Please do email it. I can always use a few extra page views. ;0

Moonchild60 on November 30, 2009:

Well thank you so much for this one James. I am often shocked at how many people do not know these little rules of etiquette. I would like to email this to about a dozen people I know personally!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

Nemingha— Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. I appreciate you! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

advisor4qb— AH! I sense an addiction here! I think they have meetings for that. One lady Hubber calls her phone the "Crackberry." ROFLMAO

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

dusanotes— Thank you, Don. I'm resting now. I promise. :)

What you referenced does happen, getting into bad habits from those around us. The opposite is true, too, fortunately.

I have a side of my family with atrocious grammar—lovely people, though. When I spend time with them I carry that with me temporarily. I tend to speak with folks they way they like to speak. One of them said to me at the holidays: "I node jou was comin'!"

Nemingha on November 30, 2009:

Good hub once again James.

advisor4qb from On New Footing on November 30, 2009:

Gosh, I can't live without my cell phone, but I do usually walk outside (if I am not with the kids) to take calls.

dusanotes from Windermere, FL on November 30, 2009:

Another good one, James. Your photos and everything was just right, in my opinion. I have done a lot of dining out with company people. Most of them haven't the slightest idea of what is right and wrong when you eat. Thanks for the update and help on all of this. I have probably fallen into some bad habits because of who I have been with. Don White

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

JimLow— Thank you, Jim. I share your frustrations on those rare nights out on the town. It is a special treat that is dimmed by the occasional miscreants. But they don't know any better, I suppose. Or they don't care. I appreciate your wit and wisdom.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

greatAmerican— A bag of food and a parking space. I love it! You paint quite a picture there, gA. I've been there many times.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

prettydarkhorse— I am the magic man? Thank you for your lovely, witty comments. You are welcome, Maita. What a pleasure your visits have become.

JimLow on November 30, 2009:

James, I chuckled a bit as I read this well-written Hub because I was thinking of some of the far less quality resturants I frequent when I'm on the road with my job.

People have gone down hill with simple common courtesy including waiting staff. I often hear people blow their noses at their tables and this drives me near-insane. It's a low-class thing to do even if you're at McD's.

It also drives me nuts when people do not control/discipline their children as they run around tables screaming. I was at a very fine Italian resturant the last time I witnessed this.

You like to think that when you're out for the finer dining (not frequent for my household), other patrons would respect your sought-after sanctuary away from rudeness!

Great pointers you gave us here.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

Lily Rose— Thank you! Me too. Maybe this Hub will spark a revolution. It's great to hear from you. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

H P Roychoudhury— Thank you for the affirmation.

greatAmerican on November 30, 2009:

Perhaps people need to practice some dining etiquette in their homes before attempting to sit in a room full of strangers who may all have peculier eating habits.. I am too old for this fancy stuff. I can handle a drive up window manned by some high school kid (who I don't have to tip) followed by a bag of food and a parking place..

Have a nice week off James..

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

shamelabboush— Well, I do the best I can. I sure appreciate you for visiting me today and leaving your warm words.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

Hello, hello,— Ah yes! The nouveau riche! They have the money but not the manners. That is a sad combination—for the staff of a fine restaurant. Thank you for pointing out the difficulties that face waiters. Thank you for coming and you are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

A. M. Gwynn— :D

I appreciate you rapier sharp wit. I agree with you that the wait staff and servers are the unsung heroes. They do work very hard and have a tough public to deal with that finds it easy to complain but hard to compliment. Thanks for your excellent comments.

prettydarkhorse from US on November 30, 2009:

Hi james, I am learning a lot although I know the basic here, Please and thnak you are magic words always, I am excited to dine with a man with proper etiquette, hmm, must be fun....

have a good day always, Maita

Lily Rose from A Coast on November 30, 2009:

Excellent information - I wish more people were concerned with proper etiquette!

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on November 30, 2009:

Befitting guides for the modern etiquette.

shamelabboush on November 30, 2009:

Wonderful tips! I bet you're very educated and versed in etiqutte James!!! Nice hub.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on November 30, 2009:

I am so glad that you emphasize the waiters because they really work hard and they have to put up with a lot if not the lot. Especially these days with people who became rich, not to mention the methods, and have manners ....????? Plus they think they are allowed to do anything and I mean anything. Gosh they could do with lessons. Thank you for, as always, a great hub.

A.M. Gwynn on November 30, 2009:

You mean I'm NOT supposed to complain loudly and often, leave a big mess at the table, disturb other diners OR leave next to nothing in a tip??

Seriously... nice hub.

These people who serve are so unappreciated. They work hard and have customer service skills most of us wouldn't be able to display day in and day out, especially in the face of some of the people I have witnessed while dining.

Not not mention, these servers sometimes exist mainly on tips.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 29, 2009:

ArchDynamics— You are # 1 again! I know, I know. I have been full of it lately. I am going to take a week off now. I have a lot of real life issues to deal with this week.

Your comments are outstanding, as always. Great stuff. Great addition to my little article. Thank you, my friend. Nobody is more classy than you.

ArchDynamics from Orlando, FL on November 29, 2009:

King James:

Good work, but slow down ... I can't keep up with your prolific scribing.

A nice addition - no matter what the check, always tip your server in cash. Most of these fine folks aren't making a fortune as it is, and being able to keep just a few dollars more of their hard-earned money from the tax man is a small kindness.

I always make it a point - away from the table - to shake the server's hand, look them in the eye and say "You did an exceptional job for us this evening, and I want you to know that it's both noted and appreciated."

Good work, good service, caring attitudes - I think we should go out of our way to reinforce those around us who are trying to be exceptional.

What a loss when an outstanding and caring worker leaves their profession because he or she is simply too beat-down or unappreciated to feel it's worth the bother.

And ... how simple for us to take 30 seconds and let them know that exceptional people recognize others who are also exceptional.

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