Caught this on Bitterwaitress, how to be a good customer. I agree full heartedly
Customers can fall short too:10 Tips to be a good one
By Tucker Shaw, Denver Post
A couple of times over the past month I've made the point in this column that the standards for restaurant service in the Denver area are, in general, not as high as they should be. But that is not my point today.
Today, instead of griping about service foibles and frustrations, it's time to turn the tables and see a different point of view. Because it's not only servers who are falling short. It's us too. We've all been there: You're at dinner with someone whose attitude and behavior make you cringe. He or she complains about everything, scoffs at and speaks condescendingly to your server, throws attitude and leaves a miserable tip. You find yourself smiling extra broadly to your server to make up for it, even slipping a few extra bucks under a glass of water on the way out to make up for the difference. It's a horrible feeling.
On behalf of overworked, and underpaid and underappreciated servers, here are 10 things the rest of us need to keep in mind.
One: Your server, (not your servant) is a human being and deserves your best manners. A moment of eye contact and a smile up front, the most basic and respectful way to acknowledge a fellow human being, can make the difference between a smooth evening, and a bumpy one-on both sides.
Two: Your server works hard. Quite likely, they work even harder than you do. Staying on your feet for four to six, or eight hours at a stretch is a lot to ask of anyone. Throw in having to schlep plates, fight with chefs, absorb customer frustrations and maintain a positive outward attitude-this is a tough, demanding job, worthy of out respect and admiration.
Three: Your server doesn't make much money. Few and far between are the restaurant jobs in Denver that pay servers to say, buy real estate. And benefits? With very few exceptions, forget it.
Four: Every night is a gamble for your server. Most of us know much we're getting paid every week, whether we're busy that week or not. But beyond their sorry base rate (usually around $2-something an hour) restaurant servers are paid based on how much business the restaurant does that particular day-and how generous people are with their tips. If it's a lucky night at an expensive restaurant, a server can net up several hundred bucks. But $40 and $60 nights are much more common.
Five: You are not the only one in the restaurant. Ever had to do more than one thing at a time at your job? Then you can relate. Don't hog the server with endless questions. Ask about the menu, yes, but think first. Questions like "what should I have" are about as unreasonable as "what size am I?" when you're on the phone with J.Crew.
Six: Your server cannot read your mind. If you need something, say so. Don't stew on the fact that your iced tea needs more ice. It's unfair to resent your server for not noticing, then punish them with a bum tip. Seven: Patience is always appropriate. Berating the host or hostess will not free up that patio table any faster. Stay in sight so you're not forgotten, and be willing to give them a few minutes' grace. And if the wait for your table is longer than you're willing to wait, just say goodbye (A good restaurant will at least buy you a drink if you wait more than a few minutes.)
Eight: Your server deserves the benefit of the doubt. If, for example, the wrong entree is delivered to your table, you can be sure it was an honest mistake. (who would do this on purpose?) Before you go busting chops, give your server a break. Point out mix-ups politely.
Nine: Remember, you chose this restaurant, not vise versa. What's on the menu is what's available. Don't make unreasonable requests, like asking for the three-cheese lasagna without the cheese, or a cold beer for your 14-year-old son.
Ten: Don't skimp on a tip. It's 2006, and a 10 percent tip isn't cool anymore. Between 15 and 20 percent is appropriate. When in doubt, leave a little extra. It's good karma.
Long story short: Good service requires honest participation on both sides. So, if we expect our servers to do a better job, we must be willing to step up too.