1) Never ask your server’s name without introducing yourself – Most waiters assume if you ask their name you just want to know who you’re going to boss around all night long. Introducing yourself sends a message that you plan to treat us as equals. The best service experiences are the one where the guest and server have good chemistry—a proper introduction will set the right tone.
2) Nose the wine, don’t taste it – When the server presents your bottle of wine and offers you a drop, swirl and smell it but don’t taste. Humans are capable of smelling hundreds of different aromas whereas the palate is only able to detect four: salt, sweet, bitter and sour. If the wine smells sound, there is not reason to taste it. Your server knows that and so should you.
3) Don’t ask to keep your bottle of white wine on ice – People drink white wine way too cold. Your waiter will assume you want a chiller and should offer, but ask him to leave it on the table. You will enjoy the complexity of the wine much more as it tempers and your server will respect that you’re in the know.
4) Offer your server a glass of your wine – Restaurant staff are rarely afforded the opportunity to taste exclusive bottles of wine from the list. A great way to show your server that you appreciate his service is to offer a taste of your bottle. Restaurant people rarely turn down free booze—especially when we can say that drinking on the job was purely for educational purposes.
5) Let your server order for you – The ultimate show of faith is to give your waiter the keys to the car. The decision doesn’t come without risk, but it can pay potential dividends far greater than if you ordered on your own. There is certain to be something you wouldn’t have ordered that ends up a favorite.
6) Simplify split payments – When making a partial cash payment, if possible, give the cash to the person using a credit card and have them pay in full. Any complicated formulas that require the server to perform advanced trigonometry to figure out how to divide your bill will put you in the doghouse.
7) Tip in cash – Most tips you leave on credit cards aren’t disbursed to the staff who served you until their paychecks arrive the following week. Some restaurant owners even pass along credit card fees (around 3%) on gratuities, so the server may not receive the full amount of the tip you leave. Even if you pay with a credit card, leave your waiter cash.