1P100W #82 – To Stack Or Not To Stack?


I saw this picture on Facebook days ago. The picture itself is not very interesting, but the comments were pretty epic.

This girl said such gesture would be welcome in a family restaurant, but would not be appreciated in a high-end, fine dining restaurant. I thought what she said was fair enough, but she ended up being heavily hammered by self-righteous American moms and internet trolls alike.

So a question for y’all: would you stack plates up to help your server if you find yourself in a fine dining restaurant?

PS: if you do this in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, your “help” will lose the server his/her job.

[107 words]


  1. At a fine dining restaurant? Absolutely not! In fact I think not so nice lah to stack up plates like that. I would just let the server clear the plates/bowls as is unless if they were slow in taking away empty plates and there is not enough space for new dishes. But I guess this won’t happen in fine dining restaurants.

    • We could always give them a few seconds to notice it and do their job, couldn’t we? I think the only way one is able to stack plates in a fine dining restaurant is if they are impatient and stack it immediately after they’re done, or the server really screw up.

  2. Hmm, difficult question.. I’ve been to a restaurant, western one la, to “sik sai chan” (chicken chop, fish & chips those things), I stacked when the waiter came, his face a bit black, wahlao, like yimhei like that.. So I guess I won’t stack kua, unless no place or the kids fidget, so to avoid the plates fall on the floor, I’d stack.. So leh, my answer, err, not up not down, depends on situation, haha..

  3. I have the habit to help the waiters clear their tables and stack the plates and bowls as well. I only do that in smaller cafes and restaurants, es expected when there were always shortage of staff.

    Will read back all your posts soon. Missed your blog dei…
    Thanks for your prayers, my old man still in hospital. Please pray harder ok. LOLOL

    • Yes, in smaller cafes and restaurants, that is a good gesture, and is a real help.

      Don’t worry about blogs lah. Take care of your old man first.

  4. No, I normally do not want to do the stacking… why? Cos I am afraid I will do more damage than good… hahahaa.. Depends on situation… if like the server is collecting them, I would help by taking the cutlery nearer to her…

  5. Alamak. I thought I left a comment here yesterday….

    Anyways, yes I stack my plates at family restaurants, some cafes and at buffets.

    No at nice restaurants where there are staff to monitor your tables.

    I don’t even have time to stack them at Tony Roma’s. Hahaha

    • Huh, tarak leh… did it accidentally went to spam and I overlooked it? Sorry. >.< So you get the point. Tony Roma's is considered fine dining for poor Malaysians like us you know. XD

  6. Not only in fine dining restaurants but also in mid-range priced steakhouses, you will get no chance in hell to stack your plates coz they will clear it before serving you the next course. This is even being practised in cafes (with good service) these days, the servers will ask if they can clear your plates once they see you’re done already. This is what we call service, you paid for it, so let them do their job and serve you. Don’t turn around and say you paid service charges and got no service!! >.<

    The only time I will ever stack plates is to make space on the table when there's not enough room for the new dishes (but usually this doesn't happen as the server will take away your empty plate if they can't find space on the table). The only time I've had ever stack plates was at buffets when they're usually short-handed and the servers can't clear the plates in time.

  7. On the contrary, in our hawker centre, by stacking up the plates for the plate collector is seen as a considerate act, by easing the workload of the plate collector, so I don’t see anything wrong by stacking

    • You’re missing the point. I’m asking about fine dining restaurant. I said it is not nice to stack in a fine dining restaurant.

  8. i dun stack in high end restaurant, but as Mun said, the dish come one after another, so no need stack as plates will be cleared once finished. Normal restaurant, yes, the servers are busy and we understand they need to server a lot of people, so jst give a hand to help them.

    • Right? Normal restaurant, yes. High end restaurant, no. You can do it if you want to, you know, if you want to make your waitress look bad. You stack you and your partner’s plate together. But please don’t do that in a high end restaurant.

  9. I have never been and will never eat at fine dining restaurant so the question does not apply to me. But in fine dining, the dishes come out one by one, after you finish eating one dish, the waiter will clear your table and serve you the next dish so there are no dishes to stack lah. Those places that you end up with lots of plates and bowls to stack are not fine dining places, hahaha.

    Anyway what did the self-righteous American moms and internet trolls say? They say good to stack in fine dining restaurants too?

    I remember your post where you were scolded by the old woman for clearing your plates. Was it in France airport?

    • Exactly! Normally you won’t even get a chance to stack dishes in a fine dining restaurant. Unless you want to stack everyone’s plate together. And you have to be in a desperate hurry to do it before the server comes.

      Well, they basically said it is good to stack regardless of situation because good manners is universal. Makes me wonder how many of them who make such remarks have actually been to a proper fine dining place before. And when a fine dining waitress points it out, many of them would go apeshit, like “Oh yeah, so next time I go to an expensive restaurant, I would make a mess instead of make life easier for you, because it is your job”. Dingbats…

      Hahaha my case? Not airport, at the cheap hotel’s breakfast. And I mean the breakfast bar, not buffet restaurant.

      • I don’t think you need to wonder. I guess those who say good to stack in fine dining restaurants are obviously those who have never been to one. I don’t even think you will have time to stack your plate with your friend’s plate in a fine dining restaurant because the pace of eating is different so when you are done, your friend may not be done and the waiter would have cleared your plate first.

  10. I don’t see an issue with stacking plates, even in high-end restaurants. Sure, you don’t generally see people stacking their plates for servers there because it’s a class and status thing.

    But yeah, by stacking plates you yourself can prove you as more efficient than the server.

    • The thing is, in a proper high end restaurants, servers are trained to ensure you don’t get a chance to do any of their work for them. Their training tells them their job satisfaction is to ensure the customers are served like a boss. By doing part of their job for them, you’re actually denying them their job satisfaction, and worse, make them look bad in the eyes of their supervisor, because what the supervisor sees is “I don’t care what your customer think, if you let them do your job, you are a screw up!”

      There are ways to be a decent person, and there are ways to be a decent person. You dine in different places and there will be different expectations. Stacking plates in a normal restaurant/cafe is the right thing to do, but it is the wrong thing to do in a high end restaurant. You might think you’re helping, and of course, customer is always right, you feel happy to help, but what you’re doing is running your server the risk of having a bad mark that might affect his/her job.

      • Generally when I eat out in a restaurant, I do not want to think about cleaning up. The least I like to do is push the plates I don’t want to the side or stack them up haphazardly in front of me. I mean, that’s why a lot of us eat out….

        • I guess you haven’t been fine dining then. You won’t get much of a chance to push plates away unless you are very desperate to do it or if your server is a big screw up. I guess that’s the point Mary in the comments (in the picture) is trying to express. By stacking plates up in a fine dine restaurant, you are implying that your server is a screw up for not being attentive. Sure, you don’t mean that, but that doesn’t stop the supervisor from forming that impression. The right thing to do when you fine dine is to give your server a few seconds to notice and come over to clean the table up for you.

          The key words here: fine dine.

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