wikiHow to Summon a Waiter Politely

Showing good manners and class at a restaurant starts with how you deal with the wait staff. This varies from place to place, but the rule of thumb is to do it as discreetly as possible.


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    Raise your hand, but don't wave. Most waiters are very busy but will get to you eventually. Be patient if the restaurant is packed. The waiter might have many tables to help besides yours.
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    Talk to your waiter with respect. Control your tone and attitude, a bossy or condescending way of speaking is not needed. Never yell or snap your fingers to get attention.
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    Make eye contact with the waiter.
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    Try to always remain polite. If your waiter is ignoring you, be patient, he or she may be busy and stressed out with too much work.
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    Remember that if the food does not taste good that the waiter is not responsible; if the food is cool, then it would be uncommon that the waiting staff is at fault, but it could happen.
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    Avoid behaviors that will make your waiter want to pull out his or her hair and give you slow service.
    • Changing your mind over dishes after they have been ordered
    • Telling your waiter it is time to order than make them stand there for 10 minutes because you really have not decided what you want.
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Harassing other wait staff/customers
    • Asking them out on a date
    • Talking about your waiter even if he or she is standing right there.
    • Ask for separate checks after the waiter bring you the bill or order dessert after the waiter brings the bill
    • Asking the waiter to come back over and over again to take your order.
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    Grabbing any waiter by the elbow to get service is a big no no. Don't ever touch your waiter!
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    Practice good manners when the waiter does arrive at your table and you are with a large party, do not ignore him or her. Very rude.


  • Teach your children to never snap their fingers or scream out to a waiter too. It is not cute.
  • Be clear if you have a special order and make sure that your waiter understands. If you want your steak well done, make sure to specify it in your order. Waiters can not mind read or know how you like it.
  • If you don't like your table, don't tell the waiter. The time to ask for a different table is when the restaurant host sits you down for the meal. If you don't want to be placed near the bathrooms, tell the host/hostess before you start even walking towards the table. Or better yet, make a reservation whenever you can and be specific about where you want to be seated.
  • If you have horrendous service, complain to the restaurant manager, not to the waiter. It is more effective.
  • Do be courteous if you knock over a drink or your child spills milk. Tell the bus boy right away. Always ask for a sippy cup for small children.Never ignore a spilled drink because someone could fall.
  • If you can not get any service, flag down another waiter or even a bus boy.
  • If you are bringing hungry children to a busy restaurant, tell your waiter when he first walks up, that you need to have bread or crackers brought with the drinks. Try to think of everything you might need when ordering the meal from extra napkins or plates, straws and condiments. Plan ahead when you order will save you time and will make you a winner with your waiter. Also always bring some toys for small kids to distract them while you wait.
  • Address the waiter as "waiter," not "sir."


  • Never call out "Garçon" or "Niño" (they both mean 'kid or boy in French and Spanish respectively, or the female equivalents either). Again it is not cute nor funny. Save your jokes for someone who is not very busy.
  • Don't send out family members to look for the waiter especially children. It is dangerous in a busy restaurant.
  • Never scream out or stand up at your table looking for a waiter. It is rude! Don't ask your waiters name just so you can shout it out across the room.
  • Don't make up cute nicknames for the wait staff. They don't like it.

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Categories: Dining Etiquette | Dining Out