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The Dos And Don’ts Of Getting Your Waiter’s Attention

It is easy to get frustrated by your waiter when you're eating out but before you flare up or take business elsewhere, make sure you've been on your best behavior by ensuring you keep some of the rules we outline in this brief.

By Cookist

Having an unprofessional waiter can make your dining experience a hellish one and it should never be heard of in a reputable restaurant.

Indeed if you find yourself constantly neglected, it is only right that you find a place with better service. But there are a few things you can do to make things so easy for your waiter, they will be glad to serve you.

Keep reading to learn about them.

The Dos

  • Raising your hand

This is a pretty basic way to grab your waiter's attention. But for this to work, your server must be on their A-game, prowling their section, positioned to notice any sign you may be trying to give them.  Make sure you're obvious with your hand raising especially if you're dining out at a busy restaurant.

  • Discover your waiter’s name

It is encouraging for waiters to be called by their name rather than something as rude as a finger snap.  Using their name increases your chances of them noticing you quickly.

  • Speak with a manager

Your waiter should be doing their best to make sure you have a pleasant dining experience at the restaurant.  If as a regular of a restaurant you think a server is disrespecting you or purposely neglecting you, request to speak with the manager.

  • Treat your server with respect

If you want to receive the service you are expecting, avoid being rude to the staff. Just don’t do it.  Observe your dining etiquette and make sure you're making any mistakes that could be offending your waiter's sensibilities.

The Don'ts

  • Try not to assume your server does something other than wait tables

If you're trying to initiate small talk as your server refills your water glass, be mindful of what you talk about. Focus on choosing better topics of conversation that won't offend them. A good example is "How is your day going?" A bad example is asking about their job.

  • Remember no one knows the menu better than your waiter

Waiters usually know which menu items get ordered the most by customers and which ones are least favored. If you need an expert opinion on what to order, your waiter should be the one you ask. When they suggest a dish it's hurtful when you ignore them and order a different dish instead. If you must, turn down the suggestion politely but make them feel your gratitude for it.

  • Don't mess up your table

It's not bad to leave a few things on your table when you're done eating, but be careful of what you leave behind. Things like used Kleenex or a couple of old N95 masks are pushing the boundaries of what is proper to leave behind so avoid doing that as it is considered rude.

  • Don't get too personal

Some people do not want strangers touching them and waiters are no different. Touching your server should be the last course of action, no matter how badly you want their attention. As tempting as it may be to reach out, resist the urge as it is considered rude and may lead to mishaps.



Eating out is great but like many things in life it is governed by important rules like those outlined above.

Avoid flouting these rules and you're almost guaranteed an experience free of hassles. Of course there are always exceptions but those are as common as you may think.

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