Plus, their biggest pet peeves and the worst thing a guest has ever done.

By Food & Wine
April 16, 2018
© Getty Images

When the inherently human experience of eating out collides with consumer expectations in the Uber age, things can go sideways quickly. More than ever, today’s diners’ actions can make or break the experience.

We partnered with Culinary Agents, a marketplace for talent in the hospitality business, to poll their more than 400,000 members, and we asked the chefs and restaurateurs at the top of their game what restaurant guests can do to help make their nights out the best they can be—for everyone involved. Here are the results. 

When it comes to guests using their phones in the dining room…

Uyen Cao

What's the best thing a guest has ever done?

  • Sent a thank-you card 

  • Brought us doughnuts
  • Became a regular 

  • Left a $1,000 tip 

  • Treated staff with respect 

  • Shared their wine (that they made themselves)

  • Paid for another person’s food

  • Told our managers how great service was

What's the worst thing a guest has ever done?

  • Left without paying 

  • Didn’t leave a tip
  • Came in drunk and made a mess

  • Clogged up plumbing with steaks, baked potatoes, and dinner napkins 

  • Said they were allergic
to salt

  • Threw a chair

  • General rudeness

  • Verbally abused staff

What tools/skills would help you serve guests better?

Uyen Cao

What do guests do that make your job harder?

  • Have a close-minded attitude

  • Seat themselves

  • Use their phones when 
they order

  • Not communicate

  • Not disclose food allergies

  • Lack manners and kindness

What's your biggest pet peeve about diners?

Uyen Cao

Culinary Agents is the leading job-matching and professional online network designed for the hospitality industry, trusted by over 400,000 members and over 18,000 businesses nationwide. Learn more at