If I managed a restaurant, the first thing I would tell my waitstaff is to strike the question "Are you still working on that?" from their phrase book.
I was flabbergasted last week when lunching at a national chain which I refuse to name since I was somewhat embarrassed to be there in the first place (husband's choice).
My husband eats faster than I so he's usually done before me and the server is often clearing the table while I'm finishing my meal. This was the case on this particular day and after grabbing my husbands plate and silverware and despite that I had just put a piece of fish in my mouth and was holding the remainder my hand, the server looked at me and said "Are you still working on that?"
Usually, this question is just annoying in and of itself, being as I don't appreciate the implication that I'm laboring over my food. But, this was a new low, with the server not even bothering to comprehend that I was actually in the act of eating as she was asking if I wanted her to take the plate.
And, really, what is the huge hurry to clear plates? I'm always enormously annoyed by the staff whisking away plates piecemeal from the table as people finish without regard to those still eating.