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You know which wine to order, what table has the best Instagram lighting and why you should stay away from the dollar oysters. But before you pronounce yourself an eating-out pro, you might want to brush up on the things that drive waiters bonkers. We asked a server at a top NYC restaurant about the things she’d love her guests to stop doing. Are you guilty of any of these? (Whoops, we are.)

RELATED: 10 Things Your Bartender Would Love You to Stop Doing

annoy waiter dirty plates

Stacking Up Empty Plates

You think you’re making your server’s job more efficient by helping him clear the table. But he’s got dish stacking down to a science, and by attempting a leaning tower of soup bowls, you might inadvertently cause a spill on his way back to the kitchen.

annoy waiter instagram food

Complaining About Cold Food (After Waiting 15 Minutes to Eat)

Your app came out piping hot, but after Instagramming it, raving to your friends about how delicious it looks and then carrying on a conversation for ten minutes, it’s now lukewarm. This isn’t your waiter’s fault, so please don’t send your food back unless it actually came out of the kitchen cold. 

RELATED: The 5 Things You Should Never, Ever Say to a Waiter

annoy waiter table friend

Sending Food Back If Your Guest Goes to the Bathroom

We know you’re just looking out for your friend when her penne comes out while she’s powdering her nose. But if you send the dish back to the kitchen to sit under a heat lamp, you’re backing up the flow of the whole kitchen. It’ll still be tasty if it sits for two minutes, we promise.

annoy waiter cake

Expecting a Birthday Dessert Without Ordering It

It never hurts to mention a birthday when you make a reservation, but don’t automatically expect a piece of cake with a candle unless you’ve specifically requested it. Your server isn’t a mind reader, and she might assume you’re having dessert elsewhere if you don’t speak up.

annoy waiter champagne

Or Asking For Free Stuff on Any Special Occasion

Congrats on your fifth wedding anniversary—but chances are you’re not the only one in the restaurant celebrating something special. Don’t except your server to pop the Champagne unless you’ve cleared it in advance. (And don’t expect it to be taken off the bill, either.)

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