Ch. 5 Cultural Notes

- Hana Schloz -

Servers in France

In France, the waiters and waitresses are considered to be professionals. In French restaurants, they must be both good servers and knowledgeable about the food and wine. Even at small restaurants or cafes, servers take pride in the work that they do.


Contrary to popular belief in America, it is actually considered very impolite to address a waiter as "Garcon". Monsieur (for waiters) and Madame/Mademoiselle (for waitresses) is much more appropriate and polite.


In France, it is normal and expected for diners to take time enjoying their food, so service may seem slow to foreign tourists. Meals can often last several hours.

Likes and Dislikes

The French have a tendency to understate things like opinions on food.

For example, if a French speaker ate something very bad, they would say "c'est pas terrible", instead of calling it "mauvais" outright. Similarly, if they ate something really good, they would say something like "c'est pas mauvais" as opposed to just "c'est bon".

Service Compris

In French cafes and restaurants, there is a "service compris" (a tip) that is often included in the check. It is usually 15%. If you're not sure if it's included, you can ask "Le service es compris?" to make sure. However, it is normally customary to leave extra anyway.
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