Poor etiquette or good service? Debate arises on when a server should clear your plate

Ever feel rushed at a restaurant? Sometimes it seems like servers swoop in and take your plate as soon as you swallow the last bite.

Washington Post writer Roberto Ferdman calls it "the most annoying restaurant trend happening today." His recent rant is getting a lot of attention.

"I understand that restaurants need turnover, they need profits, but if they want me to come back, they should treat me nicely," one diner in Bethesda told FOX 5.

On the other side of the argument, some say they don't like an empty plate staring them in the face. A woman we spotted eating outdoors in Dupont Circle said, "If one person's plate is completely clear, I don't have a problem with them asking to remove it."

We went to an expert to find out about proper etiquette. Adnane Kebaier is maitre d' at Marcel's in Washington D.C. and he has worked in the fine dining industry for more than 20 years. He said servers should wait until everyone seated is finished eating before clearing the table.

But there are a few exceptions. If a person pushes an empty plate aside, a server may grab it.

There is also a universal signal that a diner would like their plate cleared.

"They put the knife and fork in the center of the plate," Kebaier said.

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