Congratulations, you made it out of the nest and into the real world. As you embark on your first flight with your little baby wings, you’re going to need some advice on how to navigate through adulthood.

Today’s lesson is restaurant etiquette. You’re going to be eating out in society with other people now, and you need to be on your game so you don’t look like a jackass.

Here are some rules to follow.

1. Be realistic.

Don’t assume you can just show up and get a table immediately. Do a little thing called planning– make a reservation or call ahead. If the place is busy, don’t be all indignant when you have to wait a little while for your table or for your meal.

2. Dress Appropriately.

When you wear your fitted cap and a “turn down for what” t-shirt to a nice Italian restaurant, please assume that everyone in the restaurant is talking about how dumb you look.

3. Don’t show up 10 minutes before close.

Technically, a restaurant is open until its stated closing time. Do keep in mind, though, that it’s pretty lame of you to insist on eating there when the place is empty and it’s obviously closing down.


Photo by Judy Holtz

4. Bring your ID.

Don’t have an attitude because your server won’t let you order alcohol without an ID. That peach fuzz is not a beard, and it doesn’t make you look old enough. Nice try, though.

5. Be confident.

Read the menu, speak clearly and make eye contact. Mommy and daddy aren’t going to order your spaghetti for you anymore.

Rude Flag Down

Photo by Judy Holtz

6. Be respectful.

Didn’t your mama teach you anything? You’re not in some entitled position of power over your server. If you need his or her attention, be polite about it. Don’t snap your fingers, whistle or do anything belligerent.

7. Don’t be loud or obnoxious.

Be considerate of the people around you and keep your voice down, bro. Nobody in the restaurant cares that you and Kristi hooked up Friday night. If the game is on, don’t be the only ape beating your chest and cheering wildly.

Electronic Use

Photo by Judy Holtz

8. Chill out with the technology.

I know you’re enthusiastically becoming a robot, but try to interact like a human while dining at a restaurant.

9. Think ahead.

If you have food allergies, let your server know before ordering, or wait while everyone else eats because you failed to mention that part. If you want 17 disgusting sides of ranch with your meal, ask for it upfront.

Photo by Judy Holtz

10. Leave an appropriate tip.

You’re a grown up now, so it’s time to start tipping. If you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out to eat, period. A normal tip amount is 15-20%. If you can’t do the math in your head, use your iPhone for something other than taking a selfie.