If you were ever a waitress before like me, you know what to avoid at all costs when you sit down to have a meal in a restaurant 鈥 some things stick with you long after you鈥檝e thrown away your no-slip sneakers and black slacks. But if you鈥檝e never been a server, keep reading below for restaurant tips that will save you more than just money.

Don鈥檛 ask for Lemon in water

The reason comes down to sanitation. When I waited tables at both a casual chain restaurant and a family-owned diner, every server grabbed lemon slices from the same container to plunk into glasses of water. Yes, with their bare hands. Even if only seven servers were working that shift, that鈥檚 14 hands and that doesn鈥檛 include the expediter plating the food. Yikes. If you need a hint of citrus in your water, go for lime instead. Chances are it鈥檒l come from the bar, and there鈥檚 usually only one to two bartenders every shift (so it鈥檒l be a lot less germ-y).

Always Order the Small Salad

Don鈥檛 go for entr茅e-size salads, as you鈥檒l end up paying a premium price for not much more than the side salad portion. Restaurants use large plates to trick customers into thinking they鈥檙e getting more food, but I鈥檝e witnessed on several occasions that that鈥檚 not really the case. Pro tip: Whenever there are two sizes of anything on a restaurant menu, ask the waitstaff to specify what the size difference is so you鈥檙e clear on what you鈥檙e paying for.

don鈥檛 go for Apps

If you鈥檙e dining at a restaurant that serves large entr茅e dishes, ordering appetizers means you likely won鈥檛 eat all of your food. To avoid food waste and keep your bill on the lower side, quell hunger with the basket of bread over that order of wings or calamari. Or think about splitting the main dish. Timing is also important. Prior to 7pm, most restaurants haven鈥檛 picked up yet for the dinner rush, so your food will usually come out quickly 鈥 which means no appetizers needed.

What are some ordering tips you follow in restaurants? Let us know @BritandCo.

(Photo via Aniko Hobel / Getty)