Special Report

25 Things You Should Never, Ever Do at a Fancy Restaurant

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21. Touch or otherwise act inappropriately with the server

This should go without saying, especially in the #MeToo era. Respect your server, and observe sensible boundaries. If you think he or she is flirting with you, remember that that’s more likely a technique to get a bigger tip than an expression of burning desire.

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22. Ask for too many separate checks

These days, when two people go out together for personal reasons, on a date or just as friends, it’s common and perfectly acceptable to ask for two checks and split the bill down the middle (please, none of this “You had the $25 fish and I only had the $19 chicken” stuff). A whole tableful of diners? Forget it.

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23. Tip on food only

Some people have somehow gotten the idea that the tip should be based on a percentage of the food cost only, not including the sales tax. This is called nickel-and-diming, and should be beneath you. Anyway, chances are the server needs the extra few bucks more than you do.

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24. Stiff the server

Some restaurants have started including service charges in the cost of their dishes so that servers can be guaranteed a fair working salary. In most places, though, the people who wait on your table work for far less than minimum wage, with the shortfall theoretically made up for by the gratuity. Don’t be a skinflint, even if you have complaints about the service. (If you have a truly bad experience with a server, leave a minimal tip — say 10% — and let the manager know.)

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25. Linger too long at the table

In Europe, and in some high-end restaurants in this country, your table is yours throughout the lunch or dinner period. The economics of most American restaurants, though, demands that they turn the tables at least once for each meal. Once you’ve enjoyed your repast and paid the check, it’s time to go so that somebody else can enjoy the experience. If you want to keep talking, repair to the bar or lounge.

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