Love at the restaurant: How to tell if your server is into you

Forget love at the club. Love at the restaurant is now trending.

Your server may be interested in serving up more than just your food.
Your server may be interested in serving up more than just your food.  © Collage: 123RF/dolgachov & IMAGO/Panthermedia

We’ve all been there: you sit down to dine out and begin scanning through your food options when, suddenly, you peer over the menu – and a beautiful specimen of a human arrives at your table.

They greet you with a wide smile, a dreamy gaze, and for a moment, you wonder if you’ve stepped into a rom-com that begins with a simple spark between server and customer – and you’re the star.

Your server is witty, engaging, and friendly, to say the least. But maybe, just maybe, they’re being a bit too friendly – and there's something more.

Thus comes the age-old question: Is my server flirting with me, or are they just doing their job?

As the meal progresses and your food arrives, the outing has become less about your eats and your company and more about whether you, or your server, should make a move.

Here are five tell-tale signs to determine whether your server is dropping some serious breadcrumbs – and whether you should follow the trail to your delicious happy ending.

Sign # 1: Body language

I'd like to order an extra long sub, please.
I'd like to order an extra long sub, please.  © 123RF/wavebreakmediamicro

As Shakira once sang, "Keep on reading the signs of my body," and not only do her hips not lie, but her advice is solid.

How engaged is your server’s body language? Are they leaning over your table and getting in close enough for you to imagine a snuggle session? Are they a little too casually brushing your shoulder when they walk by, or have they made physical contact by giving you a gentle pat on the back? Have your pinkies grazed when they hand you your cocktail, with what feels like a magical touch?

If you’re making some serious eye contact, especially from across the restaurant, you may have found the one. If they sprinkle in a wink or two, all bets are off – and it may be on like Donkey Kong.

Sign # 2: Off-the-charts banter

Got heart eyes for your server? It could be love at first bite.
Got heart eyes for your server? It could be love at first bite.  © 123RF/dolgachov

If the rapport with your server takes off, you may get those butterflies ‘a fluttering.

Are they overly helpful in assisting you in making decisions? Do they talk you through the menu like they’re guiding you through a life crisis? Are there belly laughs abounding between you two?

Try to determine if they’re overly attentive. Do they check-in on you unusually often?

Check out if they’re digging for information on you with personal questions. Have they asked your name, where you’re from, or "how you know each other" in regard to your table-mate. If their intrigue reads less stalker-ish and more towards genuine intrigue, they may have the hots for you.

Want to fling some flirting right back? Ask and address your server by their name, pay them a compliment, and fish for more info on them, too. Asking for recommendations besides the food – whether about the neighborhood or what they like to do in their spare time – is a good tactic to uncover whether they're single and ready to mingle.

So go fish!

Sign # 3: Freebies

Your dining experience could be giving you a two-for-one – in more ways than you think.
Your dining experience could be giving you a two-for-one – in more ways than you think.  © 123rf/barmalini

Everyone loves free stuff. But if those freebies come courtesy of your future soul mate? Even better.

If your server gives you some discounts on your bill, or gifts you some menu items for free, you can assume their love language may be giving gifts – and that's not too shabby in a potential beau.

If it's a heavy drinking kind of outing, test the waters with your server. Ask if they'd want to take a shot with you and your crew, or join you at your next drinking destination. Maybe they'll meet you there.

If you're going hard or going home, you could just be going home with your server in tow.

Sign #4: A seat at the table

Is your server taking selfies with you and your friends? Perhaps they'd like you to have photos of them in your camera roll.
Is your server taking selfies with you and your friends? Perhaps they'd like you to have photos of them in your camera roll.  © IMAGO/MASKOT

If things escalate in just the right way, your server may feel comfy and so inclined to pop a squat at your table.

If you’re interested, crack a joke and give them an invite to pull up a chair – and watch their reaction like a hawk.

Do they take the time for a sit-and-chat despite being a worker bee? Do they include and interact with your table buddies, or are you the focus of their attention? Are you starting longingly into each other's eyes?

If any of these can be answered with a "yes," you may have booked your ticket to Date Town.

Sign # 5: Leaving the door open

Your server might be open for business ... and pleasure.
Your server might be open for business ... and pleasure.  © IMAGO/Wavebreak Media Ltd

As you end the meal of your dreams with your possible future suitor, don't be too sad. There are some clear signals that they are leaving the door open to encourage another chance encounter between the two of you.

If your server makes mention of their schedule or what shifts they work at the restaurant, it may be an open invitation to come again – in more ways than one.

If you’re interested, don’t let them do all the dirty work – after all, they’re already on the clock. Let them know you’ll be back to visit, or drop them a hint of a public place where they might be able to run into you instead.

And last but not least, if the signs align, take the reins and make that grand gesture. Fill out the tip line with some big bucks like you're Elon Musk trying to court Twitter and then leave your phone number on the check, too. You won’t regret it when they hit you up, and at the very least, you’ll have a funny story to tell.

Life is short, and so is the window of opportunity for a server-customer love affair to bloom. It could just be love at first bite.

Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/dolgachov & IMAGO/Panthermedia

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