8 Mistakes People Make When Dining in a Large Group

A little planning and patience can go a long way.

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Cropped shot of a group of young friends toasting during a dinner party at a restaurant
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Skipping the Reservation

Unexpected large parties are one of the things restaurant hosts secretly dislike. Making a reservation for a large group lets the restaurant prepare for the rush a big table can bring. It also ensures that you won’t be disappointed if they’re having a busy night. Keep the restaurant posted if the size of your party changes significantly.

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Three women are sitting at a table in a health cafe. They are eating organic, vegan meals while talking and laughing.
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Showing up at Different Times

It can be hard to control the comings and goings of a big group, but having everybody show up on time makes things a lot less complicated for your server. It also should improve the quality of the service you get. While this is one rule we think all restaurant-goers should follow, there are certainly a few dining etiquette rules no one follows any more.

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Happy group of friends paying with a credit card at a restaurant and splitting the bill – business concepts. **DESIGN ON CARDS WERE MADE FROM SCRATCH BY US**
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Waiting to Ask for Separate Checks

Please don’t ask for separate checks at the end of the meal. It’s best to ask right away—it will save your server from scrambling later. It’ll also give you a chance to sort the payment out with friends if splitting the bill isn’t possible. By the way, this is the best time to ask for separate checks.

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Waiter serving white wine in restaurant
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Making Requests One at Time

If your server is getting a second drink for someone in your party, ask for one at the same time—even if your glass isn’t 100 percent empty. It’ll save the server from constantly running back and forth—which is one of the most common server pet peeves.

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Group of senior friends meet up. They are in the restaurant, having lunch and taking. Waiter photographing with smart phone.
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Monopolizing the Server’s Time

While you should absolutely feel comfortable chatting with your server and asking for what you need, give them a break once in a while. Be mindful that you’re probably not their only table, and try not to go overboard or monopolize their time.

Psst! These signs will tell you if a restaurant is going to be good or not.

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Overly busy restaurant kitchen
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Getting Cranky

Waiting on a large party can be challenging. If you can see your server is making an effort, take a deep breath before complaining. Of course, if you are having a low-patience day, you can skip the party and chill at home with one of these restaurant copycat recipes.

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Waitress Holds Credit Card Machine As Customer Pays Bill In Bar Restaurant
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Forgetting to Check the Bill

Many restaurants add an automatic gratuity (often 18%) for parties larger than six. Make sure you double-check (you don’t want to be paying twice) before settling the bill. Don’t be afraid to add a little extra, if your server went the extra mile.

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Friends Dining Outdoor
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Lingering All Night

Who wants a fun night to end? On the other hand, taking up space after you’ve paid the check can be inconsiderate. Move to the bar—or even better, bring the gang to your house. Just make sure your home bar is well-stocked.

Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.