About 90% of resturant awkwardness occurs when trying to converse with the server. I think most of the small talk is awkward for a few simple reasons. First, you don’t really care whether the waitress is having a busy night or not. You just want your food. Second, the waitress doesn’t really care how your evening is going. She just wants you to order so she can go in the back and have a smoke.
In the not-so-distant future, these awkward moments might not even be a concern. The Sang Hoon Lee’s No Server Order System is a touch menu which more closely resembles an iPad then anything you’d call a menu. You order by touching your selection on the screen then pressing the order button. The order is instantly sent to the kitchen. You can also pay for the meal right from your table. Servers would be reduced to food delivery boys. At least until robots take their place.