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There are rules of etiquette that have nothing to do with the placement of the forks or remembering to say “please.” When dining at a restaurant, these rules are often missed, and quite often, some diners need reminding.

Reservation Times

A reservation is an arrangement between the restaurant and the patron. If the patron is not available to be seated at the time of the reservation, the table may be given to a waiting guest, and a late arrival can be a source of conflict if the patron arrives after the table has been reassigned.

When the person who made a reservation is running late, a phone call to the restaurant to ask if the table can be held will often prevent a misunderstanding.

Wait Times

When waiting for a table on a busy night, remember that the wait time you were told was, and always will be, an estimation. Very rarely is anything for certain. Restaurant employees cannot control how long guests seated before you will linger after their meal.

Smartphone Etiquette

While it may be tempting to take a photo or two, remember that a camera’s flash may be annoying to others in the dining room. Your dinner may be lovely, but photographs may not be appropriate, no matter how many Instagram followers you may have.

Do Not Shift Blame

The wait staff has no control over what happens in the kitchen. The server is not responsible for food that does not meet expectations, though they will almost always hear you out if you wish to complain. Try to refrain from blaming the messenger, and tip according to the quality of the service.

Tip to the Value

When dining with a coupon, it is proper to tip according to what the charge would have been if your meal was full-price. The staff does the same amount of work whether the diner pays full price, redeems a gift card, or responds to a “buy one get one free” offer.

Respect the Time

Arriving for a meal five minutes before a restaurant closes is never good etiquette. You may not be turned away, but think of the staff. Every employee has a personal life outside of their jobs. It is best to respect an establishment’s regular dining hours, or visiting one that operates later into the night.

The best dining etiquette requires consideration and kindness. Restaurant work is not easy. A few reminders on dining etiquette can make the experience much more pleasant for everyone involved.

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