Thanking Wait Staff Opinions

After reading this thread, I have a question about thanking wait staff as they perform their duties. I tend to thank wait staff for filling my water glass, bringing my meal, that kind of stuff.

My questions are, do most people do this? Any wait staff reading this, do/did you appreciate people thanking you, or did you find it condescending or otherwise unpleasant? Does it really matter one way or the other? Thoughts on this?

I try to do this, but sometimes they come and fill my glass or something when I have food in my mouth. What then? I hate to mumble around the food, but I think it’s rude not to acknowledge them.

I say thank you, and I’ve taught my children to say please when they order.

I’ve been a waitress, and it’s nice to be acknowledged.

I always say thank you. It seems rude not to.

Even if my mouth is full, I try to smile, and at least nod to show my appreciation for good service. I always thank the server whenever they bring something to the table, and when asking for something, I usually say something along the lines of, “When you get a chance, could you possibly bring some sugar? Thanks!” If they forget, I’ll just ask again, because, hey, they have a lot they have to remember, especially in those places which (inexplicably) don’t use order pads.

I figure servers get a lot of abuse from rude customers, and perhaps by being extra-nice, I can brighten their day just a bit. It also has the added benefit of getting me great service.

When the service has been especially good, I’ll usually speak to the manager on the way out, and let them know, or fill out a comment card if one is available. (I’ve never complained about a server, because I figure they’ve probably had a rotten day.) My husband and I are very good tippers, and pleasantly enough, we’re remembered at all of the establishments we dine, and the staff is especially good to us.

I waited tables for years. I would walk through fire for polite tables (and with well-mannered children?! the best). Servers notice this stuff - and the things we’d like to do to rude customers sounds like the meaty section of an Amnesty International report on North Korean human rights offences.

“you couldn’t fit an entire dinner platter up there…”

Consequently, ruder tables get shittier service and play feature roles in gruesome salad tong-related torture fantasies.

So, in close, say please and thank you, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Do it for yourself, do it for your country.

I’ve gone far beyond the realm of common politeness and crossed into that of manic courtesy. I say thank you every time they bring something, take something away, refill something, do something for someone else; basically any time the waiter/tress comes over to do anything. People who work at restaurants, does this go past amiable and into just plain irking?

I usually do, when it’s convenient and appropriate. I mean, if conversation’s flowing at the table I might just toss a smile when a plate’s shoved under my nose. If there’s a lull, a civil “thank you” goes along with it. It might only be a casual aside, but what does that tiny courtesy cost me?

But when waitstaff go above and beyond, I notice, e.g. quietly refilling my iced tea without being asked, unobtrusively cruising by to check if anything’s needed, just being alert and available, etc. “Service” is a fine thing, and not many people do it well. Even the ones who don’t shouldn’t be barred from basic respect just by the nature of their jobs. (Courtesy reflects more on the giver than the receiver, IMO.) But where’s the fault in giving a special “thank you”–and commensurate tip–to those who give extra?


I say thank you and please to anyone who does something for me. I would like to have people aknowledge when I do something for them, so I give them the same courtesy.

I always say thank you when a server brings anything to the table. I also make a point of thanking cashiers and other customer service people, because I realized at some point how much crap they take, and if I can brighten their day at all, then I’ll do it.

I always thank the servers when they bring anything to the table. If I think they’ve done a really good job, I’ll often say something to that effect when they give me my bill or come to take the money away (along with a tip, of course). I feel that so often they only hear the bad things and the complaints that hearing, “You really did a great job today. I don’t know how you always manage to know when I need something.” is appreciated. In instances of exceptional service, I’ll locate the manager and let them know what a great job the server has done. Sometimes those little things can mean a lot during a review or if the server is looking to be promoted.


Uh, what Geobabe said.
I just wandered all over the north forty, grouping for the words.
Exactly. ::applauds::
Thank you.


Yes, yes and yes. It is very much appreciated when the customer takes notice and does not treat you like an automaton. Even a server who routinely goes out of his or her way routinely for a difficult customer will go even farther out of the way for a simple “thank you.”

Cash is always good, but it’s the courtesy that will make you memorable. (Unless it’s really a LOT of cash.)

I always thank the server, unless my mouth happens to be full. On those occasions, I find a friendly pat on the ass gets the idea across.

This isn’t football. That friendly pat on the ass is not welcome by me and would soon be followed by a friendly slap to the face.

I am a server and I sure appreciate someone being kind enough to say thank you. I quit my other wait job last August. I received a thank you card in the mail at that same place in September. I didn’t get the card until December. The card read this.

Inside was a $20 bill. First I couldn’t figure out how they got my last name, but they did. And second this letter was from Santa Clarita CA. I am in TN. It really touched me. I must have done something right. And to think someone went to all that trouble for me was just unbelievable and really made my day.

And if you pray before your meal I will tell you what gets me everytime. Call the server over and ask- Is there anything that you would like for us to pray about? I have had this happen 3 times and all times I have had tears. It’s touching. And it doesn’t cost a cent.

I always say thanks (unless the service is shockingly bad). If it is exceptional I speak to the maitre’d on ther way out. If it is extremely good I will leave a tip (very unusual here)

When I was a server, I always appreciated common courtesy. Even in my job now, I appreciate it when my clients say “Thank you” because I work hard, just as I did when I was a server.
I never felt it was annoying or condescending when people thanked me, and unless my mouth is full of food, I always say thank you for service, including drink refills, etc.

I suspect that post was meant as what some of us in the biz refer to as a “joke”.

Alrighty then, this brings up another point - my sister was raised the same way I was (to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’), and somewhere along the line she has stopped thanking servers for anything. It makes me cringe a little inside to go for dinner with her because I’m afraid the wait staff think she’s being snooty (which may well be the case). Is there anything I can say to her to remind her of the manners she was raised with? (BTW, we’re both in our 30’s.) I suspect there is nothing I can say to her (or should say to her) in this case.

Former waiter here.

I try to thank the server each time he or she brings something to the table. I don’t sweat it too much if i’m in the middle of a deep conversation and i happen to miss on one occasion - waiters aren’t dumb, and they know who the polite people are, and that you might not always notice when they refill your water. I also have a tendency to compensate for any of my dining companions who i feel are not polite enough.

When i was a waiter, i always appreciated common courtesy. But it never really worried me too much if i didn’t get a “thankyou” every time i visited the table. In fact, some of the easiest tables to work are the ones where the customers just let you do your job quickly and efficiently. What REALLY used to get my back up was when i would ask the customers something (more drinks, anyone? would you like to see the dessert menu?) and they would act like i wasn’t even there.

And finally, i know this is off the topic, but a word of advice for diners (at least if i were your waiter):

I know you’re just trying to be helpful, but PLEASE do not stack your dishes when you’re done. I can clear a table of eight main plates, eight side plates, cutlery, butter dish and bread basket in one sweep, and your attempts to make things “easier” actually just end up ruining my system. Thanks. :slight_smile: