Texas Roadhouse server shares the dos and don'ts of 'camping' at table

@flabigailfartin/TikTok npp_studio/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘The server can’t leave until you do’: Texas Roadhouse server shares the dos and don’ts of ‘camping’ at table

‘Once I had a guy take his shoes off and try to take a nap in the booth.’


Jack Alban


Posted on May 23, 2023   Updated on May 23, 2023, 9:51 am CDT

A Texas Roadhouse server recently shared why restaurant workers hate it when customers partake in “camping.” 

In her video, @flabigailfartin explained why “camping”—or “sitting at a table long past the time you should have been there”—is generally frowned upon. She then offered “constructive options” on what patrons could do instead. As of Tuesday morning, her video had over 5,700 views.

@flabigailfartin said that one reason why servers hate “camping” is because servers can’t make any money off people who loiter. 

“While you think that the tip that you left was generous and kind, it is not kind enough for you to then sit there” for several hours thereafter, the content creator explained. “The longest I’ve ever seen someone camp was for 5 hours. … You are now effectively cutting that person’s money down with every minute, hour, that you sit at that table and do not order anything else.”

@flabigailfartin #serverproblems #servertiktok #waitressproblems #waitresslife #fypシ #camping #annoying #HowTo ♬ original sound – a silly goose :), J.D.

The server then rattled off suggestions for what customers could do instead. For starters: Leave the restaurant and talk elsewhere. 

“There are so many better places for you to sit and talk to someone,” she said. “I would recommend … maybe going and sitting at the bar top. But even then, you have to think that the bartender is trying to get people in and out.”

“So maybe go to a place like a coffee shop where the people are getting paid an hourly wage and they’re not depending on that place where you’re sitting to make more money,” @flabigailfartin continued.

For customers who insist on “camping,” @flabigailfartin said that they can do things like “order more drinks, keep the tab going, or … tip a lot more than you would have” to make up for the fact that they’re taking up space. 

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that the server can’t leave until you do. Even if you paid them,” she said. “So if it’s near closing time … maybe don’t sit there and talk. If you see a server with a broom or spray bottle, they’re really not trying to be rude. They really just want to go home.”

@flabigailfartin concluded by highlighting a “subspecies” of camping: customers who arrive with an incomplete party and who don’t order until their entire table is seated. 

“That also really sucks because [servers] can’t make any money during that time either,” she said. “So in that circumstance, maybe show up at the same time or at least get your friend’s order beforehand.”

In the comments of @flabigailfartin’s video, a number of fellow servers expressed their own frustrations with “camping.”

“I had someone camp for 3 hours and left me 10$ lol,” one viewer said.

“Camping also can really stress out hosts / cause sooo much backup in a restaurant. If all the tables are full and there’s a wait list, it’s on u,” a second server echoed.

“Once I had a guy take his shoes off and try to take a nap in the booth,” another lamented. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to @flabigailfartin via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: May 23, 2023, 9:30 am CDT