What is The Waiter Rule?

You know that middle aged guy in the crowded restaurant screaming profanities at the teenager behind the counter? The one that’s so red in the face that he’s starting to turn blue and is demanding; a refund, the owner and for the kid to get fired. That guy sucks.

The understanding that this character is a bad guy proves the existence of The Waiter Rule.

The most memorable of Swanson’s [33] Unwritten Rules of Management, The Waiter Rule states that; “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.” This is not a new idea and it is most commonly used by people already in positions of power within corporations to protect their company. Unfortunately while it is universally understood that this person is bad that doesn’t really help the poor server from having to cop it.

This campaign aims to raise awareness about the horrible things that workers in the hospitality industry are expected to deal with. The rudeness is not acceptable in ANY other facet of life so why should it be any different for the person taking your order?

While, The Waiter Rule sounds pretty specific from the outset it refers to anyone who is perceived to be in a lower position of power than the customer. So if you work in hospitality and have to deal with customers whether you are a waiter, a bartender or working customer service at a fast food place this blog is for you. Hospitality businesses are notorious for having completely unreasonable customers which is why it’s a great place to start.

Though the image of the bad customer in my first paragraph is quite specific, unfortunately, bad customers come in a whole range of shapes and sizes. I mean that both literally and figuratively.

Literally: Don’t let anyone feel excluded rude customers are not always middle aged men! Any customer service person will tell you that even the sweetest looking old lady could be a ticking time bomb of rude. That gorgeous little boy with the chubby cheeks? A nightmare waiting to happen. The young smiley woman? Your future nemesis.

Figuratively: Not all rude customers scream and yell. The ones clearing the room with the aggressive expulsion of hot air are easy to spot but a lot of terrible customers are a bit quieter about it. There is of course sexism and arrogance but did you know that something as simple as not saying please can affect a person’s well being. By not acknowledging a persons inherent value as a human it wears away at their psyche over time.

This brings us to the typical defense of the rude customer; “bad customer service”. The fact is that rude customer’s impact on a workers willingness to do their job. It will generally not stop them doing the job they will just begin to take a more minimalistic and less creative approach to their role. That being said I am in no way condoning rude customer service. This blog is devoted to the people who do their best and get slapped in the face not the ones who think showing up for work should earn them a lifetime achievement award. Those people are another problem for another day. For now I suggest being extra nice to their co-workers. After all you only have to deal with them for a little while, they have a full shift of picking up their slack ahead of them.

Hope that brings everyone up to speed on what The Waiter Rule is all about. Thanks for reading!



2 thoughts on “What is The Waiter Rule?

  1. Name: CHAOJUN QIN z3384441
    Everyone is equal in the world. Even if the customers are god, it is based on that we should respect each other. Waiters need to serve customers because it’s their job but it doesn’t mean that customers can be rude to them. I think that being a waiter is a tough job because waiters need to serve different kinds of people. If you cannot respect others, so how others can respect you.


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