Servers are masters at body language. A good server can size up a table before they are finished taking the drink order. They can tell who is tired, who needs to eat NOW, who’s paying, and in most cases who is going to be the problem at the table all in less than 2 minutes. Sometimes things change during the course of a meal. The happy couple can suddenly flip out and start a war, which leaves the server covered in shrapnel and wondering what just happened. The bitchy man can turn into a teddy bear and a generous tipper by the end of the meal. A good server continues to read the visual clues throughout the meal so there are no surprises.
One of the visual clues servers watch for are customers looking around. The normal thing to do when eating out is look at other members of your party or stare at your plate if you don’t like who you’re eating with. When a diner starts looking around, it usually means they want something. This is a visual clue that you want your server at your table.
I HATE it when I get a gawker, someone who is more interested in what is going on in the kitchen and with the waitstaff than he (it’s always a man) is with his own table. No lie, I will be at a gawker’s table 10 times in 30 minutes because the visual clue is that he wants something. Except he never does. I can tell he’s getting annoyed with each trip I make to the table, but damned if I can stop myself. I’m programmed to respond to a customer looking around. I want to say, “If you’d stop staring, I’d stop coming over here,” but then he would get offended and his wife would get pissed and I’d be in trouble. It might just be easier to stab him with a fork.
The next time you go out to eat, start looking around and/or staring at your server. You’ll have her twitching and chain smoking before the food arrives.