Thursday, April 21, 2011

how to get a server's attention

First of all, patience is key.  If you are in a restaurant where the service is good and you're being taken care of in a timely manner please resist the urge to hunt down your server to ask for salt.  You probably have enough salt in your diet already, let me rephrase, you probably have TOO MUCH salt in your diet already.  If you are a female it will only add to your water retention and if you are a male, well....I digress.

Let me first go over the ways to NOT get your servers attention.  These things make you look uncouth and  boorish.  You may want something NOW but perhaps a moment or two will not hurt you.

1. DO NOT address your server whilst he/she is attending another table - this includes tugging on his/her apron.  This is not only rude to the server but also to the other people, who (while obviously less important than you) deserve attention too.  It's not okay for your server to ignore you because they are disclosing their sexual adventures to a co-worker or having a smoke break (unacceptable) but taking care of the rest of their section is part of their job!

2. DO NOT yell.  There are no exceptions for this.  Shouting across the dining room to get your server's attention makes you an ass. Period.

3. DO NOT lift your glass and wave it in the air/set it atop your head.  This will cause your server to ignore you - as they obviously would not want to interrupt the stupid show happening at your table - until you regain your faculties and start acting like a sensible adult again. This goes for waving money at your bartender, it's rude, have some class.

4. DO NOT snap your fingers.  We are not dogs, and you are not the King of England (unless of course you are the King of England then go ahead, we'll forgive you, but just this once).  This makes you look like a pretentious jerk, a high and mighty asinine prat.

5. DO NOT whistle.  This is similar, yet more heinous than shouting; it encompasses both the concept that you are referring to your server as an animal to be beckoned at your leisure and/or a stripper.  If you are going to whistle, expect a jug of water, or in the more severe cases, hot coffee, poured on your lap/head.

Basically, to get your servers attention, make eye contact with a meaningful look.  If your server is in the middle of something give them a moment to look over, hold their gaze, and they will come to your aid at their next available moment.  If you truly have been waiting an unbearable amount of time - check the clock, time moves slower than you think - then approach the bar and present your query politely to the bartender, they can help sort you out.


  1. Great blog! Just out of curiosity - where did you get the image above of the snapping fingers? I love it and want to use it for something if I'm allowed.

  2. Thanks! Unfortunately I do not have any specific rights to the picture, I just found it via google. It didn't seem to have a copyright so you certainly have my blessing to use it!

  3. Why is a smoke break unacceptable?

  4. I tired all of the nice ways to get a server's attention yesterday when they forgot part of my order, none of which worked. It was a small dining room and he had all of three tables, and over 50% of the room was empty. Finally- I said "excuse me" when he was bringing another table the check. This resulted in him slamming what I had already asked for on my table when he came back.

    So my question is- do servers ever realize that their oblivion may be responsible for a loud (not yelling) "excuse me" across the room? In other words, do servers ever take responsibility for their own behavior?

    Sorry, I'm just really, really annoyed.

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