The Top Tip You Need To Get The Best Seat At A Restaurant

If you've ever walked into a restaurant during peak dinner hours, then you can probably agree that most servers deserve a raise and a paid vacation. But, as it stands, most U.S. servers make far below the federal minimum wage, which currently only stands at a measly $7.25, per NPR. Plus, in September, CNBC reported that Americans are tipping less than they did pre-pandemic, a real or imagined phenomenon called "tip fatigue." Although you know who's extra "fatigued" right now? The server who just got burned by the trays on their ten-plate carry but still delivered your entire meal in one trip.

As chef Anthony Bourdain once said, "I am not a fan of people who abuse service staff. In fact, I find it intolerable. It's an unpardonable sin as far as I'm concerned, taking out personal business or some other kind of dissatisfaction on a waiter or busboy" (via Parade). In a survey by GQ, being a "rude diner" was the third-biggest reason people said they'd never go on a second date with somebody, after "racist" and "homophobic." (Yikes.) Unless dining alone forever is your thing — toss your server a "please" and even a "thank you." There are all sorts of rules for eating at a restaurant, but being conscientious of your fellow man is always rule number one, even in the culinary world — and it is this tip (among others) that will get you the best seat at a restaurant.

Talk to your host (like a person)

Former hosts spoke to Food & Wine and revealed their top tips for getting the best service, and they all boiled down to one thing: Treat your host like a human being. One host recounted, "I would bump up [on the waitlist] the kind, understanding guests, or try to get a manager to send over a free app. If you get angry and cause a scene... oops, the wait time just went up." Another way to level with your host and secure the best table is, if you're celebrating a special occasion, tell them. Hosts want to be able to give that window seat to guests having an anniversary dinner — so long as you recognize them for going the extra mile. (That includes not skimping on the tip.)

Whatever you do, don't try to dazzle your host by name-dropping your illustrious, important acquaintances. They won't be impressed by who you know. More likely than not, your host already knows them, too. They have a table ready for them in a half hour, thanks, so if you could just step to the right here, sir, this is a moving walkway... Plus, on a busy night, your host simply cannot find space that doesn't exist. The point is: you don't sound as cool as you think you sound by name-dropping, and your annoyed host is going to give that corner booth to the party behind you who just slid them a 20.