How many times or how often should the waiter check back?

United States
February 17, 2009 6:44pm CST
the last couple of times i have gone out to eat the waiters have been super annoying! one was checking back every 5 minutes after we got our food asking if we were done and wanted our check.. another time today the waiter stopped by asking if we needed something every 5 minutes and if we wanted refills on things that werent even empty.. then another place we had not only our waiter but then like 3 other people come by to check on us.. i guess its better than them never coming by BUT i would like to eat my food without being bugged every 5 minutes.. and these were all different restaurants! what is your ideal time frame in checking back? i like to be seated (1) then after a few minutes ask for drinks (2) then bring drinks and take order (3) then bring order (4) then check back one more time BEFORE asking if you wanted the check and for me to be done EATING!!! so i guess 6 in all.. jeeze sounds like a lot when i count.. makes me wonder how many times those other people came by if i think they were always around!!
4 people like this
23 responses
@bubblyapple (2655)
• Philippines
18 Feb 09
I would say that after serving your order, the waiter shouldn't approach you unless called or he/she has seen that you're done. Maybe that is too extreme but that is the way I like it since I don't want to be disturbed when I'm eating as well.
• United States
18 Feb 09
well i can see them checking back a little more often due to refills on drinks or more salad or bread etc but jeeze some are just pests!
2 people like this
• Philippines
20 Feb 09
LOL. I like that man's retort. Funny, but true.
1 person likes this
@uath13 (8227)
• United States
18 Feb 09
Actually a "walk" by ever 5 minutes isn't bad. IF the waiter is observant they'll then know if they should interrupt you to ask if you need anything or give you the opportunity to flag them down. Constantly asking can be annoying & trying to push the check on you ( & thus you out the door ) is rude.
3 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
yeah the walk by i dont mind.. but we had just gotten our food and refills and so what thee heck could we have needed refilled if everything is topped off?!?! the only reason i didnt get totally pissed about the check thing was that it was busy but still right after you get your food thats insane! im a slow eater lol
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
18 Feb 09
I think six would be sufficient....to greet you and get a beverage order....to take your order....deliver your food.... check back later to see if everything is okay...then pick up your dishes and ask about dessert....then present the bill....
3 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
yep that would be perfect
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 09
That is what I like too. About the interupting you every 5 minutes I simply like the ones who simply eye from across the room when you are need of things, like drink refills or bread. Not ask every time.
3 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
yeah all they have to do is observe how you are eating or if you are eating.. if you bring their food out and they arent touching it then ask them if its ok.. walk by to notice bread or drinks.. but jeeze asking all the time is annoying..
2 people like this
@Jae2619 (1485)
• United States
18 Feb 09
i think with the ecomony now people are dining out less and the waiters actually have more time to spend with the tables now, so that's why they seem super annoying. My husband took me out last night and we had an awesome waiter. He was right on everything, gave us the run down of drink specials, and specials for the night on food. He took our drink orders and at the same time he took our appitizer order... brought our appitzer and then took our order for our dinner. After bringing dinner he checked back about 2 to 3 minutes to make sure everything was good and if we needed any thing else. After about 20 minutes or so he come back and asked if we were done, needed boxes, dessert or the check. He, didn't hoover us, and that's what I like. Last night was the first time in a long time, we've actually had good service. Most of the time, they are hoovering over us, or don't even come back to the table..
3 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
i usually get good service but seems like they have all been taking speed or something lately lol
2 people like this
@schulzie (4068)
• United States
18 Feb 09
I don't know. I think that it is far better for the waiter or waitress to come by too often than not enough. The other day we all went out to eat and the waiter took forever to come by our table to take the order in the first place and then it was a very long time before they checked to see if we needed drink refills. I mean it is awful when everyone at the table has an empty glass and are so thirsty that when they do get their refills that they are drunk down within a minute of getting them. I think there should really be a happy medium between these two scenarios. Have a great day and happy myLotting!!!
• United States
20 Feb 09
ugh i have had that happen to me a few times and its horrible..
• United States
18 Feb 09
I like to have the drinks taken when we are seated or either very quickly after we are seated. I like to have a few minutes to read the menu, then have the order taken, and food brought. I get really annoyed when I sit there halfway through a meal with no drink. I don't need a waiter to be at my beck and call but I do need a waiter to keep glasses filled and make sure things are going smoothly. There is nothing worse than the missing waiter and and empty glass or a messed up order. It is not easy to be a good waiter, but it is pretty easy to see that glasses are low and think hey maybe these people are getting thirsty.
• United States
18 Feb 09
yeah i hate that.. i actually got one waitress fired one time because she took our order.. then delivered it to us an hour later then never saw her again till like an hour after that with the bill.. we had no drink refills or salad or bread etc.. she was just goofing off some where.. what made it worse was it was our honeymoon! i left her a note when i paid the bill saying "next time if you want a tip earn it" and then when we left i saw the owner come up and grab it and then he fired her.. i almost would have felt bad but it was crazy how long we were there and that she never came back ever!
1 person likes this
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
18 Feb 09
You got to go OUT to eat? How lucky!!! Just kidding with ya. I think waiters shouldn't "check back" but make their presence known by standing somewhere where you can see them and they can see you, so you can motion for them to come over if you need them or are ready for the check. If the restaurant is not set up so that the waiter/waitress can be seen by everyone at her tables, she could walk around, passing by each table every so often but not stop to ask if you need anything, or how is the food, or are we doing okay. Maybe looking over at you and smiling, but not stopping and being annoying. I think that some waiters/waitresses believe that the more they interact with you, the bigger their tips will be. WRONG! Gees, let us eat it before you ask how it is!
• United States
20 Feb 09
lol eating out is like my one weak spot.. not knowing how to cook sucks!!
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
20 Feb 09
Oh, cooking is so easy! Just open the package, read the back of the box before you stick it in the microwave, press a few buttons and voila! Cooked food! I love cooking (REAL cooking, lol) but don't have enough energy these days to cook a big meal. Stouffer's Frozen Lasagna has become one of my favorite meals! I add a salad and garlic toast and we have a total meal. But, as with anything, just read the directions in any cookbook. There isn't TOO much that can go wrong doing it that way. But, by far, my FAVORITE way of of "preparing" meals is to select them from a menu and having it brought to me already cooked.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 09
i can never time things right to where everything is done at the same time.. so if its not a one dish thing forget it.. you will have the one part done then have to wait 20 minutes for the side dish haha
@ahgong (10086)
• Singapore
25 Feb 09
I guess I have not been checked upon my meals to even noticed it the way you did. Must have been really irritating, isn't it? Maybe you can feed back to the restaurant so that the supervisor is aware? Then he will be able to educate his staff better so that other patrons will not be bothered by the frequent interruptions from the waiters. And your next visit will definitely be a better experience than the last! Or maybe the waiter who was waiting on you was just taking the opportunity to take second looks at the pretty lady?
• United States
26 Feb 09
well i kind of did this discussion to see if it would bother others because i wanted to make sure i wasnt being overly irritable before i complained.. with my luck it would be just an off night for the waiter and him get scolded and decide to NEVER check on anyone the next customer then end up losing their jobs.. lol
1 person likes this
@ahgong (10086)
• Singapore
26 Feb 09
You got a point there. So let it go. The next time you do go to that restaurant and are being served by the same waiter, tell the bugger off. Inform him that you will call him if you need any service. And that you would appreciate it if you can have some peace during your meal. I am sure he would appreciate the feedback and leave you well alone till you beckon for him.
1 person likes this
@Virgie60 (556)
• United States
25 Aug 09
Hi! I was searching around on mylot about waitressing and came across this post. I wanted to put my two cents in as a waitress. Sometimes we come back maybe a little too often because the boss or cook is breathing down our neck and want us to check on the customers. Otherwise I too hate to bother people while they are eating but the boss will come by and tell me to go check on tables. But I will try to keep this in mind about not checking back every five minutes. I do try to keep things to a minimum if someone is celebrating a birthday or if it is a business meeting. This is a really hard call though as you don't want to forget about your customer nor do you want to be at their table every other minute.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Aug 09
yeah i can see how it would be hard to figure when its a good idea and when its not especially with some bosses
@winterose (39932)
• Canada
19 Feb 09
I know I agree it is annoying but in some places the bosses won't allow a waiter to stop working and if he has finished serving he cannot sit on his butt he has to go and ask the people if they want anything else or lose his job, some bosses can be jerks like that. some customers really love the extra attention and some don't I usually politely say I am fine and if I need something I will surely let you know you don't have to come to the table and working your tired feet anymore, and make a joke out of it, that way if his boss says why are you slacking you have a table to serve he can say the customer requested that I not come back until she calls me herself.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 09
hmm didnt think about that.. thanks!
• Brazil
18 Feb 09
Every 5 minutes is pushing it!! I hate it when they do that, I feel like saying can you leave me or us alone!! I would like to seat then have at least 2 minutes to breath then the waiter can come buy and get the order, then after he brings what i order he can just leave me alone!! I'll call him if I need anything or the check.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 09
yeah i would tell them to go away but i usually dine in big restaurants so im afraid i will never find them when i do need them if i do that lol
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
18 Feb 09
i am also annoyed if a waiter come to my table and check on my meal too often... but it is also annoying when you want to get help and there is nobody available to help you... so i think there should be a balance... i think couple of times throughout a meal is more than enough for a waiter to check on a customer... more than that i will be annoyed... take care and have a nice day...
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 09
seems like you either have it really bad or way too often.. no happy medium
@MeganK (88)
• United States
18 Feb 09
Oh man, I definitely feel your frustration! This happens to me a lot and it really drives me crazy. I appreciate that they want to make sure that I have everything I need, but eating out isn't just about the food. It's a social thing, and having your conversation interrupted every five minutes is just plain annoying. Another thing I hate is when I'm eating with my boyfriend and there's a female waitress who will only take care of him. I've literally had a waitress who refilled my boyfriend's drink 5 times during the meal, and mine not at all! I understand that you want a big tip, but flirting with my boyfriend is no way to get that. It just pisses me off and obviously you are going to get a really bad tip if you act this way.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 09
yeah i have had that!! its funny because when we live in TN my hubby got better service and when we lived in FL i got better service!
@GAUCI123 (1042)
• Malta
18 Feb 09
I agree with you, I hate having a waiter all the time checking on our table. I like eating and talking calmy with whom I am eating with. It is true that some restaurants check you frequenlty especially when going to a high class restaurant since he will check your glass every second to run and come refill it. I like to eat in private
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 09
yeah i like to relax and it be in private or quiet etc.. have an interesting conversation which you cant do if the waiter is popping in all the time
@22angel22 (451)
• United States
18 Feb 09
I would say that 6 is about the correct amount to come around. Unless they see that you have an empty cup or something. I hate waiting around for my check too, I think if they clear your dishes away then the check needs to come ASAP and then them come back within 2 mins to pick it up. The worst is when you wait forever for everything!
• United States
20 Feb 09
yeah i hate it when your done and staring at your plate and the person never brings the check and then when he does check back youve waited a long time and then he takes even longer bringing it to you
@agrant10 (1446)
• United States
18 Feb 09
I can understand where you are coming from. I use to be a waiter way back in the day and I use to really count on my tips, so I would check on the patron to make sure that they were well stocked with rolls and refills, however I feel that you are crossing the line if you are asking the patron if they are done yet. It sounds like they were trying to rush you off, get their tip and be ready for the next customer which is very rude.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 09
yeah especially if your only half way through your meal!! im a slow eater but hubby is a fast eater.. but ive had them come by when HE wasnt even done!
• India
18 Feb 09
In normal cases, a waiter should not check at all once the food is served and till he is called for. However, there are cases, specially in small eateries, where groups of young people occupy a table for hours without ordering much more than maybe tea and some light snacks. In such cases, it’s a loss for the eatery and the waiter keeps on checking and giving indirect hints for them to vacate the table. Other than that, it would be downright rude for the waiter to keep bothering the customers in a proper restaurant. I have come across some of such types (not many) and I have told them point blank that I would call them if and only if and when we need any help!
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 09
yeah if we hadnt been eating or eating a whole meal then i could see them wanting us out but we ordered a full meal and desert etc so there was no reason in trying to kick us out quickly due to losing money
@sharay (2778)
• India
18 Feb 09
This is the most annoying thing i find in going to a hotel, i have even stopped myself several times entering the hotel because of this issue...we normally check for hotels which have seperate rooms to have food where in there will be a switch (bell) to call the waiter, i feel that should be applied everywhere in all hotels, a bell under every table to call them to the particular table which would solve every tension and disturbance caused by them, they make us feel like to get done as fast as we can and get out of that place for the next customer
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 09
that would be a cool thing for them to do to all places!!
@user_786 (1340)
18 Feb 09
The waiter should stay beside you all the time ... lol...... not really.. he should probably check back after every 5 minutes
1 person likes this