Think Twice Before Stacking Empty Plates At A Restaurant

Ever finish a meal and want to help the waiter by stacking up the plates for them? Although your intentions may have been good, this 'help' you are offering might not actually be helpful at all. Some waiters might not mind, but others have valid reasons why they would prefer you leave your plates be.

According to Business Insider, stacking your plates can make a table look messy and get in the way of the waiter's method of clearing a table. Not only do individuals have their own method for clearing a table, but at certain restaurants, the waitstaff can go through intensive training for table side etiquette. In some kitchens there are specific protocols for how to handle dirty plates and silverware and stacking the plates on your own makes their job more difficult. In addition, stacking your empty plates may give other diners the impression that the waitstaff is not doing their job, which may not be your intention (via Reader's Digest). This being said, there are plenty of other ways to help out your server.

Ways to help a waiter out

Once finished with a meal, The Takeout's advice columnist the Salty Waitress suggests that guests should angle their forks and knives toward the center of the plate to indicate that they are done. Taking this approach gives the servers a signal that you would like your plates picked up. This is the kind of teamwork between a guest and a server that will help with the smooth flow of your dining experience.

Another suggestion noted by Business Insider is to not push your plates away when finished. Not only does stacking potentially disrupt the waitstaff's flow, but pushing them away may also make it harder for them to reach across the table and grab the finished plates. Trained waiters are sure to watch their tables and approach once it is time to clear.

Another big help is to keep your napkins off of your dirty plates. This creates a bigger mess and they can get stuck to the plates. Placing your napkin on your plate gets in the way of clearing the table and can cause the napkin to get much dirtier. Just like not stacking your plates, there are unspoken napkin etiquette rules for nicer restaurants.

Stacking your plates might have seen like a no-brainer to help out staff, but in fact, waiters would rather say "No thank you" to the practice. In a segment about what workers hate about their job Jimmy Kimmel, collected even more ways diners annoy their servers. You might find a few of your other restaurant habits on the list.