College students are a particular breed of restaurant customer; they can either be the best kind or the worst kind, as in either super considerate or super annoying. I talked to a waiter (who also happens to be my boyfriend) whose been doing this for seven years to figure out exactly what you should know and what you can do to be the best kind of college student customer.
1. Learn how to tip
C’mon, you’re in college now, you should know how to tip. Don’t be the d*ckhead who orders an entire meal and then some without tipping. It makes you look bad and it f*cks over your server, too.
2. Know that you and your server are not that different
You’re an undergrad so the places you’re eating at probably have servers who are also working on getting their higher education, and are most likely only working to either a) pay for school or b) have a tiny bit of money on the side, because otherwise, why the hell would they be working their asses off working at a restaurant?
3. Learn how to properly (and respectfully) talk to others
Yes, sometimes talking to a server can be a scary thing because you’re on the spot and all that – and servers generally get that. But it’s a give and take— you need to be able to express what you want to your server without making them do all the work, especially if it’s a busy day. Plus, you need to not talk to your server in such a way that doesn’t make you seem like you’re establishing a hierarchy with yourself at the top and the server at the bottom, because that’s just entitled and sh*tty.
4. Stop taking pictures of your food and then complaining that it’s cold
Learn the principles of thermodynamics in that, the longer you wait to eat your food by taking pictures of the food or of yourself, the less hot your food will be by the time it reaches your mouth. Next time you complain about your food being cold, think about how much time you wasted trying to get that Insta-worthy shot.
5. Learn how to split the bill and not be annoying about it
We get it, no one wants to pay for the entire group of people when going out to eat. To remedy this, make your orders clear to the server and explain how you’ll be splitting the bill prior to ordering. And, once the check comes, make sure to organize everything before handing back the check — and, if it’s really complicated, just write down the last four numbers of your card next to the total on the back of the receipt. Basically, just don’t make the server do all the work regarding your weird payment plan.
Also, keep in mind that if you are meticulously splitting the bill, don’t order large sharing things like pitchers of mimosas because you can’t split a single item, so someone will have to pay for it in full whether you want to or not.
6. Be nice to your sever (and then they’ll be nice to you)
If, upon your first interaction with your server, you don’t address them when they greet you, they are going to get the impression that you don’t care. And if you don’t care… then why should they?
7. Help your waiter out and let them know who ordered what when the food arrives
Although many restaurants use position numbers to direct where the food goes after being cooked, many restaurants don’t use this method and simply rely on the customer to remember what they ordered just 15 minutes ago and speak up when it arrives at their table. If you can remember mundane dates for your stupid test on the French revolution, you can remember what you ordered. Don’t be the guy dumbly staring between the food and his friends, waiting for it to be delivered— help your server out.
8. Don’t treat your server like crap just to impress your date, because, well, that’s not impressive
Yes, you’re on a date and you’re trying to look good, but why on earth would treating your server like sh*t make you look good? It’s not impressive and it will probably turn your date off, too. Plus, your server has the ability of making your date go uphill or downhill and will quickly and without regret give no f*cks about your date night if you’re an asshole.