When I was growing up, dining out was always a special experience.  We didn’t go out too often, because there were 5 of us and money could sometimes be tight.  But I always loved when we had the chance.  As we got older, dining out became more frequent, whether it was fast food or a sit-down restaurant.  And eventually, I started working in restaurants.  So I can definitely understand where this guy is coming from when he discusses things you shouldn’t do in a restaurant with the TODAY Show.

My Serving Experience

My first serving job was at a local Mexican restaurant.  I’d always loved dining there and was excited to work there. I lived in a really small town, so pretty much everyone knew everyone.  That was definitely a positive thing while I was working there!  I’m sure that cut back on a lot of negative experiences.  Not to say there weren’t SOME!  Especially when things got busy.  But overall, I really enjoyed working there.

Later on in college, I worked at a chain steakhouse.  This experience… wasn’t quite as good!  I knew no one really.  And with a corporate-run restaurant, there are different expectations.  Pretty sure at one point, the manager met with me to talk about being more personable with customers.  And I can understand that, to a point.  But when you’re running around during busy dining hours, you can’t always give every customer the ultimate experience.  Add to that – I was a busy college student… stressed out and simply trying to make a little extra money.  Not an excuse, but still!

And Then Some

Even after college, I have had a few serving jobs.  Each job has been very different.  I’ve worked in more chain restaurants, and at least one other locally owned restaurant on the beach in Florida.  There are ups and downs to working in the restaurant industry– there are busy nights with great tips, slow nights where you get cut early, great customers, terrible customers, and everything in between!  And let’s not get started on cleaning your section and the “side work” you’d have to do – rolling silverware, cleaning up drink stations, restocking drink stations or condiments, etc.

While I don’t have the 30 years of serving experience like this guy, Darron Cardosa, I can say I feel I had enough… and I know without a doubt that serving and customer service isn’t really what I’m cut out for.  And I have so much respect for those that are in the industry.

So Cardosa discussed things you shouldn’t do in a restaurant with the TODAY Show, and I can pretty much agree with them all!

  • Rearranging Tables

    Believe it or not, there’s a reason tables are set up a certain way in a restaurant.  And typically, the restaurant is divided into sections, with servers assigned to each section.  This helps cut back on confusion, as well as helps keep a rotation going among the servers.

    Making changes to the seating arrangements or tables can cause unnecessary hassle for your server!  Just don’t!

    Rearranging Tables

    Photo: iStock/Getty Images

  • Not Washing Your Hands After Handling A Menu

    Honestly, I haven’t thought about this one a lot.  But it does make sense.  I remember working at certain restaurants with laminated menus that we had to wipe down at the end of the day… but think about how many hands touch them throughout the day.  And not to mention the possibility of them being dropped on the floor.  Cardosa described them saying, “…those things are like petri dishes.”

    Handling Menu

    Photo: iStock/Getty Images

  • Sending Food Back

    Now, I know many people who refuse to send their food back.  They don’t want to seem rude.  But if the food wasn’t cooked correctly, or you get the entirely wrong dish… it IS okay to send it back.  You definitely should get what you ordered, and the way you wanted it.  BUT… if you simply don’t like the meal, don’t send it back!  My thoughts are… if you aren’t 100% sure about a dish, ask your server!  Maybe there are some ingredients you aren’t a fan of in that dish which can prevent you from ordering something you won’t like!

    Sending Food Back

    Photo: iStock/Getty Images

  • Not Tipping - Or Barely Tipping

    This one is probably one you expected! My thoughts have always been, if you can’t afford to tip, don’t dine out at a place where servers are dependent on tips.  Depending on the restaurant, servers may have to tip out the bartender, the busser, and/or the food runners.  Restaurants I worked at, I didn’t get pay checks most of the time because those were consumed by taxes.  So I LIVED on tips.


    Photo: iStock/Getty Images

  • Leaving Gross Stuff Behind

    The fact that people would even consider doing this is really gross to me! First of… I feel like blowing your nose at the table is bad enough. Don’t leave that disgusting tissue on the table.  Oh, and if you change your baby, don’t leave a dirty diaper behind.  I’ve never had that happen.  My first thought was… Who changes their baby at a restaurant table?  At least go to the restroom or back out to your vehicle!

    Dirty Table

    Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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