Request separate checks first. It's easier to make multiple checks before taking orders than after.
Don't suffer in silence. The server wants you to leave happy so you'll return. If you're not satisfied, nicely let the server know how he or she can fix the problem, says Paul Paz, a Beaverton, Oregon-based waiter and the founder of the customer-service information website waitersworld.com.
Don't take the merchant copy. If there isn't a paper copy of the credit-card receipt to prove the waiter's tip, then he's out of luck. One guest sent Paz a note explaining that he had accidentally taken both copies. "He apologized and included a personal check for $6."
Know how you prefer it. If you don't like pink, don't order a rare steak. Sending back food is a waste of time and resources.