5 Ways to Get Served Faster at a Restaurant

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Nighttime, lunchtime and weekends are hectic at just about any restaurant, but you needn't steer clear during those times. Knowing a few ins and outs of the industry can help you have quicker service the next time you go out to eat.

5 Remember to Tip

Perhaps you were in with a group of 10 people last weekend, taking up a big table for the entire night, and then left your server measly tip. He remembered. And he told everyone else in the restaurant not to worry about taking care of you since you’re a bad tipper. Tipping is an absolute must if you want speedy service in the future. If you’re not sure what to add for gratuity, 20 percent is generally the minimum for exceptional service, reports CNN Money. Not every server goes above and beyond, though. Fifteen percent would be an adequate tip for mediocre service.

4 Be Polite

A server’s section is like his personal real estate for the evening. He’s responsible for making sure it’s clean upon arrival, maintaining cleanliness during service and making sure everyone in his section is taken care of. His job is to ensure that you and his other five parties each feel like valued guests so you want to come back, as well as tip him, of course. It might not be his fault that it takes him 10 minutes to get to you—the hostess may have made a mistake and double- or triple-seated several tables at once. He’s already on edge and if you bark at him, he’ll become more flustered, make mistakes and maybe wind up making your dining experience unexpectedly longer. Be polite, chat with him to calm his nerves and remember that his time is valuable—he has 20 other people demanding his attention, all at once.

3 Discuss Your Discount

Restaurant workers don’t mind adding your discount—coupon, senior citizen or other special card. Just don’t let your waiter know after he already drops off your check. Some computer systems make it difficult to add a discount after the final check is printed, making your server have to tie down a manager during a Friday night rush. You may think he forgot about you, but he just ran 10 laps around the building trying to find his supervisor. Let your waiter know about your price reduction expectations as soon as you order. That way, everyone is on the same page from the get-go.

2 Order in Bulk

Servers hear every pity story in the book: We’re trying to catch a movie. We need to get home for the sitter. They get it—you’re in a hurry. If you want faster service, order everything in bulk. Eyeball the menu while you’re waiting for your table, or better yet, look at it online before driving over. You should be ready to order everything, from cocktails to dessert, as soon as you sit down. Waitstaff are professionals. They do this for a living. Your server knows to put your entrée in as soon as your appetizer arrives to keep the flow of courses coming. Additionally, if you know you like extra ranch dressing or need extra napkins, make these special requests at the same time. Nothing aggravates a server more than guests who ask for something new every time he visits the table.

1 Make a Reservation

You know you want to take your significant other out on Friday, but that’s a busy night in the industry. Rather than getting frustrated about a long wait, make a reservation beforehand. Reservations help the hostess or captain plan ahead and space out seating accordingly, allowing the kitchen to keep a steady pace so everyone gets served quicker. Of course, sometimes situations arise and you just don’t get a chance to reserve your spot ahead of time. No problem. Just call the restaurant before heading over and let them know how many people are in your party and any special accommodations you may need, such as a high chair or a wheelchair accessible table.

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