Do you ever wonder what the server thinks about you when you’re dining out at a new restaurant? Does she think you’re fussy because you asked for no tomatoes? Does it show that you’ve never heard of tempeh before? We talked to some professionals to find out what they can really learn about you while taking your order.
You Probably Prefer Kale Salad  To Pizza
If you’re looking for a quick bite and you’re dressed in running gear, your server can guess you don’t want to load up on carbs and sugar. Tara McFarley, a server and bartender at local foods restaurant Healdsburg Shed  in Healdsburg, California, says she sees a lot of runners and bikers at the restaurant (they even have a bike parking area), so she’ll start by telling those customers about the fresh juices and salads on offer, instead of touting the natural sodas and wood-fired pizza.
You’re A Dining Amateur
McFarley says she sometimes knows if she’s waiting on customers who only splurge at organic restaurants for special occasions because they’ll bypass the dinner specials and immediately go for familiar dishes. This is especially common on Valentine’s Day. Industry insiders call it “amateur” night because people who usually stay in are out looking to mix it up.
Related: What Happens If You Eat Food That Fell On The Floor 
You Don’t Know What Crema di Lardo Is
If you’ve been staring at the menu for ages, your server isn’t going to jump to the conclusion that you’re a picky eater . “Most times, guests who take a long time to order haven’t been here before or have never tried vegan food,” says Kiyomi Kawai, assistant manager at Vedge , a vegan restaurant in Philadelphia. McFarley agrees. “The wording on our dinner menu is a little intimidating (farro verde with crema di lardo, sprouting broccoli, wild mustard, and magenta spreen, anyone?), so if new customers tell me they don’t have any questions, it’s usually because they’re shy. I’ll start by telling them what my favorite dishes are to get them to open up.”
You’ve Got Health Issues
Even if you’re not up front with your server about your lactose intolerance, vegan diet, or celiac disease, she can usually figure it out anyway. At Healdsburg Shed, there are a lot of shared plates on the menu, so if everyone else in your party is noshing on an array of cheesy appetizers with sprouted wheat crackers while you’re sticking to your own salad, McFarley says that’s a tip-off for her to ask if she can suggest other dishes that might fit your diet.
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You’re Probably Trying To Lose Weight
If you ask for dressing on the side, no bun on your grass-fed beef patty (not even a gluten-free one), and a “skinny” drink like water with lemon, it’s pretty obvious you’re trying cut back on calories. But hey, servers aren’t there to judge. They just want to make sure everything comes out the way you like it so you’re sure to come back again.
You’re A Waiter Or Waitress, Too
Waiters and waitresses are some of the best customers because they’re attuned to how everything works in a restaurant. “People in the industry ask the right questions about the menu and always show respect,” McFarley says. “They’re not afraid to tell me exactly how they want their order, which makes my job easier.”
You’re On A First Date
Servers can often tell if you’re out with a new guy or gal because you both seem a little nervous and have taken extra care with your wardrobe. If you’re completely immersed in conversation the whole night, that’s also a sign you’re still getting to know one another. Oh, and if you make it a point to avoid dishes with onions and garlic, it could be a tip-off that you’re thinking ahead to a first kiss.
Or You’ve Been With Your Partner For A Long Time
On the other hand, servers can pick out the couples that are comfortable in their relationships. If you’re both on your phones when the server approaches the table, chances are you know each other pretty well by now and aren’t offended if your partner isn’t giving you his full attention at all times. Lapsing into easy silence while sipping a glass of biodynamic wine also shows you’re beyond trying to make a good impression.
And that’s totally cool. Servers want to give you the dining experience that you want to have. Kawai says being a good server is all about learning to read customers’ body language. If you and your partner sit on the same side of the table and stare into each other’s eyes, your server knows you won’t appreciate it if she tries to strike up a conversation. The same goes if you treat ordering your carrot salad with yogurt, Medjool dates, bee pollen, and young lettuce like a business transaction.