Recently I was eating with friends in a busy restaurant, and I was surprised to see one friend call a waiter only to take a group picture of us.

Is it acceptable to bother busy restaurant staff for pictures, which is probably not part of their job?
If not, how should I have tried to prevent this from happening?

  • 3
    What culture is this based in? Is it Japanese particularly, or is your query more general?
    – r m
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:50
  • @rm: In general, as I believe the topic is narrow enough that any country specificity can be noted within answers. But if we find out that the differences are really too big, I will be OK with making my question more region-specific.
    – nic
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:56
  • "But first, let me take a selfie"... A selfie could have helped, instead of a photo taken by someone else
    – Abhigyan
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 11:16
  • 2
    @AbhigyanChattopadhyay that does not always work if you want to take picture with a specific background, or you have 30+ people in the group.
    – Vylix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 12:15
  • @Vylix That's very true. I didn't realize that it could be a really huge group. Also, I'm used to taking selfies, so I would not really think about asking another person to help me in the first place.
    – Abhigyan
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


Is it acceptable to bother busy restaurant staff for pictures?



Although the restaurant policy allows this, interrupting busy staff is not acceptable. However, if they are available (not busy), politely requesting them is generally acceptable. Make sure you give tips to the staff for their service. If they are not allowed to accept tips (in some country), ask what can you do to say thank you. I find it very appropriate to leave a compliment to the particular staff in the feedback form.

I must add that asking for pictures is actually encouraged (in Indonesia) by the management, as it is basically a free advertising in social media. Just make sure it is done in a timely manner, and never make the request in a busy hour - at least wait and enjoy the atmosphere.


The best thing to do is to pick a time when the waiter is helping you with something else, like taking your order for a meal, or bringing a check. That way, you minimize the "extra" work for the waiter, or at least the need to take an extra trip.


Is it acceptable for YOU to do it?

No. It is inconsiderate of other patrons and may lead to the other patrons or yourself getting food at a lower than proper serving temperature.

Is it acceptable for me to take offense at some one else doing it?'

No. It is the restaurant's responsibility to manage these issues, make their customers happy, and get your food to you in an effected and sanitary way. Not yours.

Is it acceptable for me to take my business elsewhere if I do not like the way the business handles this situation?

Yes. It is your money and you choose who to patronize and who to reward. The most effective way to promote a change in business practice is to take your business to companies that follow policies that you agree with. Be it with how they pay their employees, whom they support or do not support politically, etc.

Is it acceptable for me voice this publicly?

Some people will respect this, others will disagree with you and have issue with your complaints. Even if those complaints are more mainstream like the cleanliness of the kitchen. It is a safer route to voice your concern privately rather than publicly, a public display is more likely to affect the decisions of other people. This may come at a cost to your reputation of being a "Drama Queen" or the like.

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