<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=241588062964805&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

How To Properly Signal Waitstaff - How Waiters Read Your Table


When we go out to eat, sometimes we need to get the wait staff's attention. Whether the waiter isn't stopping by enough or the restaurant is just busy that day, you don't need to wait around hoping for some notice — there are ways to politely get the wait staff's attention.

dining table inside Forklift & Palate

Getting someone's attention in a busy restaurant can be difficult, but you don't want to be a rude customer. When you follow our rules for dining etiquette, you can subtly get the attention of your waiter without a problem.


If you're ready to order but the waiter hasn't stopped by, you can signal that they should head over. It may be tempting to keep reading the menu after you've selected what you want to eat, but doing so will make the waiter think you're still trying to decide. When everyone at your table knows what they want to order, you should place the menus face-down on the table. Now, the wait staff will see that you're ready to order, and they'll come over.


When you're done eating, it can be awkward to keep sitting surrounded by finished plates, but unless you've eaten everything on your plate, the waiter may think that you're still working on it. To signal you are finished eating, place your knife and fork parallel on the plate pointing upwards between 11 and 12 o'clock.

If you're in a nicer restaurant that uses cloth napkins, take your napkin off of your lap. You shouldn't keep the silverware on the table either. Instead, place the silverware in an "X" shape or put your napkin on your plate.

Paying and Tipping

Once your plates are cleared and you're ready for the check, you can let the wait staff know. When they stop by to ask if you want to order anything else, like a dessert, you can just request the check. If they aren't stopping by to do that, you can raise your hand at the elbow to get their attention. You should never snap your fingers, wave or yell across the restaurant.

Once you've received the check, you can signal to the wait staff to come to pick it up. Place your credit card so that it's sticking out of the top of the check folder, and place it slightly over the edge of the table.

When you pay, you should always leave a tip. The tip you give will also send a message to the wait staff. If you leave a bad tip, your waiter will know you weren't happy with the service. On the other hand, if you leave a great one, you're telling them they did a great job.

When you're out to eat, it can be a little frustrating when the wait staff isn't getting your signals. Fortunately, the signals that we've suggested are common, so the wait staff is more likely to pick up on them. At Forklift & Palate, we have an attentive, helpful staff that's ready to take care of all your needs. When you visit us, you're sure to have a great meal and a great overall experience too, so don't wait!

Learn More About Restaurant Wait Staff

How Much To Tip A Waiter Or Bartender
How To Get Seated And Fed Fast At A Restaurant

Final CTA

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Request Info