Well, I approach my 1 year anniversary of:
- college graduation
- part time bus boy work at a "famous" restaurant to help pay back loans
Over the past year, I have learned many lessons, the biggest one being that people are really godamn annoying to wait staff (and restaurant staff in general)
A few rules I wish everyone would follow:
A tip should start at 20%. This percentage should go down if the service sucks, and possibly up a little if it is exceptional. 20% should be the baseline though. Plan on this 20% when deciding if you can eat at a restaurant or not. If you can only afford to tip 5%, you are wasting space in a busy place that survives on tips (from dishwashers to cooks to bartenders, tips pay a lot of people, not just your server)
When a busboy approaches (such as myself), at least have the courtesy of acknowledging his presence. He or she is busy, and gets really annoyed when you completely ignore him, trying to clear your plate away.
If you get drunk, please do not proposition the wait staff. That hunky little busboy might be great for your "slummin it" fantasies, but really, he isn't interested in your 50 year old ass.
Never utter the words "I coulda licked the plate!" or, when your plate is completely clean "I really hated that!" The busboy hears these jokes at least 450 times per night, night in, night out, and they aren't funny.
Accept and understand that meat is served rare in a restaurant, yes, even pork. Don't get in a huff when your steak is bloody. This is the way that meat tastes best, and chefs understand this. Don't order it well done, you're wasting 30 bucks.
Just because someone is bussing tables, waiting tables, or bartending does not mean they are unintelligent or shiftless. In fact, many might be recent college graduates with degrees in philosophy. Don't try to dumb down your language, as if they are cattle.
Finally, please don't breastfeed in the middle of a crowded restaurant.