A waiter with 25 years experience reveals the worst customer habits.

Are you guilty of anything on the list?

Those who have worked in hospitality share a special bond. It is only they who have been on the front lines of obnoxious customer hell. And while most diners are perfectly lovely, it often only takes one to ruin an entire shift/day/week/make you go home and cry in the shower.

The Washington Post recently spoke to Darren Cardosa, a veteran waiter who has been in the industry for over 25 years, as well as running a blog called The Bitchy Waiter. When it came to a fairly experienced opinion on what is irritating not just about diners, but restaurants in general, Cardosa had a lot to say.

Here’s what drives service staff up the freaking wall, according to someone who’s been living it for 25 years:

Some people want empty plates cleared immediately and others don’t, and you can never win.

This is a customer preference thing, and waitstaff get reprimanded by customers for not doing it their preferred way at least once a shift.

“With clearing only one person’s plate, all that’s going to do is make the person who is still eating feel uncomfortable, make them feel as though they should stop eating so their plate can be cleared too.”

But then….

“I remember at least once before leaving a plate in front of someone who had finished eating, because their companion had not, and then being asked to take the plate out of their way. It was as if I wasn’t doing my job, even though I thought I was.”

They hate when you want to change tables.

“I wish customers would just take the table we gave them. There’s usually a really good reason for it, and I don’t think people understand that.”

They hate picking up your dirty napkin for you.

“I’ve always hated it for two reasons. The first is that I hate having to pick up someone’s napkin that they’ve been using, and having to refold it, because I don’t want to touch their napkin. But I don’t think that the customers necessarily wants my hands all over their napkin anyway.”


Just bend over and pick it up yourself, people.

They think reservations are dumb.

Basically, the reservation system is resting on a delicate house of cards, and almost always ends in disappointment.

“…all it takes is for someone to show up for a reservation 15 minutes late to really screw up the whole seating rotation of everything that’s planned.”

They hate when you order off menu. The menu isn’t just a list of ingredients for you to invent a fantasy dish with.

Settle down with the bespoke requests please.

“They say, ‘I want this from this thing, and then this from that thing, and the sauce from here, and the vegetables from here.’ People are just way too comfortable now creating their own entree. That didn’t happen ten years ago, but now it does. I think people feel a lot more entitled to get exactly what they want, when they want it.”

They know when you’re faking that food allergy, you dummy.

You can’t trick someone who knows what ingredients are in every item on the menu:

“Someone will say they are gluten free, that they can’t have pasta, or need this or that removed from their plate, and then order like a chocolate brownie or a piece of cake or something else that clearly has tons of gluten.

…That person is clearly then not gluten free. And they are making it difficult for people who do have celiacs disease, and depend on restaurants to make sure that there is no gluten in their meal.”

And basically, they don’t like it when people are just generally douche-canoes.

“The way I try to look at it is as a transaction, as a two-way street. My job is to do this, and your job as a customer is to be polite, and know what you want, and be grateful, and thankful, and friendly to me.”

WAITSTAFF ARE PEOPLE TOO. So don’t be a dick.

Read the full interview right here at The Washington Post.