In today’s world, it may appear that social etiquette and strict manners are not as important as they once were.
But this is not true! Rules of etiquette still play a serious role in creating a lasting impression of yourself.
If you have been invited to a fine dining restaurant on business, a date, or a get-together, it is important to brush up on your table etiquette (not to mention your conversation skills).
Below are 15 rules of etiquette you need to know when you are dining at a restaurant.
1.) Be At Least 10 minutes early
Never arrive late!
Be a person of your word – and that means that you need to show up on time.
If you are supposed to meet at 7:00, be there at 6:45. It is very classy to be prompt and on time.
The phrase “Fashionably late!” is often used in situations where people have the habit of not being punctual.
Unfortunately, there is nothing fashionable about it. It is actually rude to your hosts or guests.
If the rare occasion does happen where you are late, text or call ahead to let them know that you are running a few minutes behind.
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2.) Place the Napkin on your lap as soon as you’re seated.
When seated, remove the napkin from your place setting and put it on your lap.
Unfold your napkin, fold it in half into a rectangle, and place it on your lap.
During the meal, wipe your mouth on the inside corner of the napkin and fold the outer corner back over the stain to conceal it.
If you need to excuse yourself during the meal or you are finished eating, do not place your napkin on the plate!
Loosely fold it and place it to the left side of your plate.
Side note: Never use it to wipe your nose. It may seem self-explanatory, but we’ve seen it happen!
3.) Wait Until Everyone is served at your table before starting to eat.
Unless the host tells you to start eating, you need to wait until everyone at your table is served before you “dig in”!
If you are at a private dinner, wait until the host or hostess starts eating before you pick up your fork or spoon to begin your meal.
Even if your food might get a bit cold, follow this etiquette tip.
4.) Know How and When To Use Your Silverware
If you are at a fine dining restaurant, you may have More silverware than you are use to!
To make it easy, always remember to use the silverware farthest from your plate first. Work your way in, using one utensil for each meal course.
Side Note: Once you’ve used your utensils (including the handles), they must not touch the table again.
5.) Know How To Signal With Your Silverware
There are many different signals that you can make with your silverware.
Above are the two most-used silverware signals!
When you want to set down your silverware to talk or to excuse yourself from the table for a brief moment, you will use the “Resting Position”.
When you are finished with your food, you will place the silverware together in the 4:00 & 10:00 “Finished Position”.
6.) Do Not Blow On Your Food to Cool It Off
If your food is too hot, don’t blow on it (or add an icecube to it)!
That isn’t proper etiquette at all.
Simply let it sit on your plate or in the bowl until it has cooled off enough to eat it properly.
7.) Never Talk With Food In Your Mouth
Even if you have just taken a bite, make sure you properly chew and swallow your food before answering.
Never tuck the food into your cheek and start talking.
It isn’t your fault that they asked the question while you were eating!
Even if it is a bit awkward, always finish your bite of food before speaking.
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8.) Never Cut Your Bread With A Knife
If you are given your own individual bread roll, break it apart with your hands – never your knife.
Tear a bite-size piece of bread off the roll, butter it, and pop it in your mouth.
Repeat this each time you want another piece of bread.
The knife is there ONLY to apply butter, not to cut the roll!
9.) Never Spit Unwanted Food Into Your Napkin
If you get a piece of fat, gristle, or other unwanted food, don’t spit it into your napkin.
Simply remove it from your mouth with the same utensil that put it into your mouth.
Then set it onto the side of your plate. If possible, cover it up with another piece of food.
10.) Never Use Your Cellphone At the table
Turn your cellphone off or switch it to silent and leave it in your pocket or purse.
It is never acceptable to answer a phone call or text during the meal.
This signals that something else is more important than the person/people you are currently with.
If you absolutely must take a call, excuse yourself from the table and step outside the restaurant or into another room.
Related Article: 12 Successful Ways to Make Friends as an Adult
11.) Pace Your Eating With Everyone Else At the Table
Try to pace your eating (and talking), so you do not finish way ahead or behind everyone else.
If you are a slow eater, try to pick up the pace.
And if you find yourself talking a lot and unable to eat as much as everyone else, try to ask a few questions, so it gives you time to eat a few bites.
Don’t continue eating if you do find everyone else finished far ahead of you and they are waiting for the next course.
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12.) Do not announce you are going to the restroom
If you need to use the restroom, simply say “Excuse me, I’ll be right back,” and leave the table.
Never announce your restroom attendance to everyone else at the table!
That is your business, no one else’s. 🙂
13.) Keep Your Food Orders Balanced
If your host does NOT order a dessert, you should not order one either.
However, if you are the host, and your guest orders a dessert, you should order one as well.
You do not want your guest feeling uncomfortable being left alone to eat the final course in front of you.
14.) Hold Your Wine Glass By The Stem
Although many people hold their wine glass by the bowl, it should actually be held by the stem!
Holding it by the “bowl” actually warms your drink much quicker.
Instead, pinch the stem between your index finger and thumb each time you take a sip.
15.) Know Your Waiter Etiquette
If you are hosting the meal and paying for everyone, let your waiter know beforehand, so there is no misunderstanding at the end of the meal.
During the meal, don’t call the waiter over. Instead make eye contact and try to signal to let them know that you need their attention.
Always tip at least 15% to 20% of the bill. Consider 25% for extraordinary service.
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