Restaurant and Dinner Party Manners and Etiquette
Table manners play an important part in making a favorable impression. They are visible signals of the state of our manners and therefore are essential to professional success. The point of etiquette rules is to make you feel comfortable, not uncomfortable.
Restaurant Reservations: Restaurant reservations are like any other appointment. If you make a reservation, stick to it. Call ahead if you??re going to be more than 15 minutes late, and cancel as far in advance as possible if your plans change so that someone else can get a table. Some restaurants take credit card numbers to hold reservations and charge no-show fees.
Napkins: In a restaurant: As soon as you are seated, remove the napkin from your place setting, unfold it, and put it in your lap. Do not shake it open. At some very formal restaurants, the waiter may do this for the diners, but it is not inappropriate to place your own napkin in your lap, even when this is the case. The napkin rests on the lap till the end of the meal. Don't clean the cutlery or wipe your face with the napkin. NEVER use it to wipe your nose! If you excuse yourself from the table, loosely fold the napkin and place it to the left or right of your plate. Do not refold your napkin or wad it up on the table either. Never place your napkin on your chair. At the end of the meal, leave the napkin semi-folded at the left side of the place
setting. It should not be crumpled or twisted; nor should it be folded. The napkin must also not be left on the chair.
At a private dinner party: The meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds his or her napkin. This is your signal to do the same. Place your napkin on your lap, completely unfolded if it is a small luncheon napkin or in half, lengthwise, if it is a large dinner napkin. Do not shake it open. The napkin rests on the lap till the end of the meal. Place the napkin in loose folds to the left of your plate. The host will signal the end of the meal by placing his or her napkin on the table. Once the meal is over, you too should place your napkin neatly on the table to the left of your dinner plate. (Do not refold your napkin, but don't wad it up, either.)
When to eat: In a restaurant: Wait until all are served before beginning to eat.
At a private dinner party: When your host or hostess picks up their fork to eat, then you may eat. Do not start before this unless the host or hostess insists that you start eating.
Silverw are and Dinner ware:
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Use the silverware farthest from your plate first. Here's the rule: Eat to your left, drink to your right. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours. Starting with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course. The salad fork is on your outermost left, followed by your dinner fork. Your soup spoon is on your outermost right, followed by your beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. Your dessert spoon and fork are above your plate or brought out with dessert. If you remember the rule to work from the outside in, you'll be fine.
Use one of two methods when using the fork and knife: American Style: Knife in right hand, fork in left hand holding food. After a few bite-sized pieces of food are cut, place knife on edge of plate with blades facing in. Eat food by switching fork to right hand (unless you are left handed). Continental/European Style: Knife in right hand, fork in left hand. Eat food with fork still in left hand. The difference is that you don't switch hands-you eat with your fork in your left hand, with the prongs curving downward. Once used, your utensils, including the handles, should not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives, and spoons on the side of your plate or in the bowl. For more formal dinners, from course to course, your tableware will be taken away and replaced as needed. To signal that your are done with the course, rest your fork, tines up, and knife blade in, with the handles resting at five o'clock an tips pointing to ten o'clock on your plate. Any unused silverware is simply left on the table.
General Etiquette Rules:
Arrive at least 10 minutes early unless otherwise specified. Pass food from the left to the right. Always say please when asking for something. Be sure to say thank you to your server and bus boy after they have removed any used items.
If asked for the salt or pepper, pass both together, even if a table mate asks for only one of them. This is so dinner guests won't have to search for orphaned shakers. Set any passed item, whether it's the salt and pepper shakers, a bread basket, or a butter plate, directly on the table instead of passing hand-to-hand. Never intercept a pass. Snagging a roll out of the breadbasket or taking a shake of salt when it is en route to someone else is a no-no.
Food is served from the left. Dishes are removed from the right. Butter, spreads, or dips should be transferred from the serving dish to your plate before spreading or eating.
Never turn a wine glass upside down to decline wine. It is more polite
to let the wine be poured and not draw attention. Otherwise, hold your hand over the wine glass to signal that you don't want any wine.
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Always scoop food away from you. Taste your food before seasoning it. Do try a little of everything on your plate. Don't blow on your food to cool it off. If it is too hot to eat, take the hint and wait.
Keep elbows off the table. Keep your left hand in your lap unless you are using it.
Do not talk with your mouth full. Chew with your mouth closed. Cut only enough food for the next mouthful. Eat in small bites and slowly.
Don't clean up spills with your own napkin and don't touch items that have dropped on the floor. You can use your napkin to protect yourself from spills. Then, simply and politely ask your server to clean up and to bring you a replacement for the soiled napkin or dirty utensil.
Do not blow your nose at the dinner table. Excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room. If you cough, cover your mouth with your napkin to stop the spread of germs and muffle the noise. If your cough becomes unmanageable, excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room.
Turn off your cell phone or switch it to silent or vibrate mode before sitting down to eat, and leave it in your pocket or purse. It is impolite to answer a phone during dinner. If you must make or take a call, excuse yourself from the table and step outside of the restaurant.
Do not use a toothpick or apply makeup at the table. Whenever a woman leaves the table or returns to sit, all men seated with her should stand up.
Do not push your dishes away from you or stack them for the waiter when you are finished. Leave plates and glasses where they are.
Proper Tipping Etiquette: At a restaurant, always leave a tip. Tips can vary from 15% to 25%. Waiter: 15% to 20% of the bill; 25% for extraordinary service Wine steward: 15% of wine bill Bartender: 10% ?C 15% of bar bill Coat check: $1.00 per coat Car attendant: $1.00 - $2.00
Remember that the amount you tip reflects the total price before any coupons, gift certificates, etc. Just because you get a discount, does not mean that your
server did not serve up the full order. If the owner of the restaurant serves you himself, you should still tip him. He will divide the tip among those who work in the kitchen and dining room. Specific Food Etiquette Guide: Artichokes: It is both proper and polite to pluck the leaves with your fingers, leaving fork and knife aside for now. Pull off a leaf, holding it by the pointed end. Put the other end in your
mouth and pull it between your teeth, scraping the length of the leaf (the edible portion of the leaves becomes greater as you get closer to the center of the artichoke). Just before you get to the very center, leaves will become almost white with purple tips. Be careful of these leaves because their purple ends are prickly. When the leaves are pulled, you will be left with the base, the heart, crowned with a fuzzy patch. You have now reached the best part of all, the very reason for eating artichokes: the heart. Carefully scoop away the fuzzy stuff with your knife or spoon (though a properly prepared artichoke will already have the choke removed). With knife and fork, cut bites from the heart like pieces of prime fillet. If you're provided with a dip such as a vinaigrette or mayonnaise, put a small part of the edible portion of the leaf in the dip and scrape with your teeth as directed above. Don't overdo it on the dip or you won't taste the artichoke. Asparagus: Most etiquette books say that you can eat whole asparagus spears, without a sauce, by picking up with your hand. However, if you do this at a restaurant or dinner party, you will draw strange glances. Be safe and use your knife and fork to cut and eat them. Avocado: If the avocado is served in its shell, it is eaten with a spoon. If it is sliced on a plate or in a salad, eat it with a fork. Bacon: The rule is simply that bacon with any fat on it should be eaten with a knife and fork. If it is very crisp, crumble it with a fork and eat it with your fingers. Berries: Generally, eat berries with a spoon, whether they have cream on them or not. Bread: Break slices of bread, rolls and muffins in half or in small pieces never larger than one bite. Butter each bite at a time. Small biscuits do not have to be broken. It is never appropriate to cut a roll with a knife.
When the rolls are served in a basket, take one, and always pass the basket to your right. Place the roll on the break plate, which is located on the left side. Never tear your roll in half or into many pieces. Use your own butter knife and the butter on your plate; buttering should be done on the plate or just above it. Caviar: To preserve the full flavor of caviar, scoop it out using mother-of-pearl utensils, and NEVER use a metallic spoon metal oxidizes the eggs), which will create an unwanted (and pretty horrid) metal bite. If necessary use a wood or plastic spoon. Don??t mush caviar up while you??re serving yourself or other, lift the spoon carefully. Caviar should be scooped from the container vertically from top to bottom to avoid crushing the egg. If caviar is passed to you in a bowl or crock with its own spoon, serve a teaspoonful onto your plate. As the following accompaniments are offered, use the individual serving spoon in each to take small amount of minced onion and sieved egg whites and yolks, as well as a few lemon slices and a couple of toast points. Assemble a canap?? to your taste with a knife, then use your fingers to lift it to your mouth.
If you're at a cocktail party or reception, where prepared caviar canap??s are being passed on trays, simply lift one off the plate and pop it into your mouth. When served caviar as an hors d'oeuvre, no matter how much you might be tempted by its luscious flavor. It's considered bad taste to eat more than an ample serving of about two ounces, or about two spoonfuls. Chicken: Chicken is eaten with a fork and knife. Chips and French Fries: Chips are eaten with the fingers and French fries with a fork. Never pick up the whole piece and bite part of it off. Clams and oysters in the half shell: Hold the shell with the left hand and lift the clam out using your oyster fork. Crab, shrimp and lobster cocktails: These are eaten with a cocktail fork. Crab/lobster claws: Cracked with a nutcracker, broken with the fingers and the meat taken out with an oyster fork. Fried Fantail Shrimp: Picked up by the tail and eaten with the fingers.
Olives: Generally, olives are considered a finger food. It is perfectly acceptable to pick up and eat an olive with your fingers. Remove pit with your fingers. If you prefer not to use the finger method, use a small fork to stab olive and remove olive from your mouth. Depending on your dining situation, you can either choose to eat olives or leave them on the plate. If you are on a job interview, don??t eat them. Also, in a highly formal dinner, don??t eat them. Emily Post indicates that, where olives are part of a salad, they are treated like the rest of the salad and taken in by fork and the pit deposited on the fork to return. Pasta or Spaghetti: The perfect method for eating spaghetti or other long stringy pasta is to twirl it around your fork. Use a spoon to help if needed. It is also acceptable to cut pasta with a knife and fork. Pineapple: Use a knife and fork to eat fresh pineapple slices. Potatoes: Baked potatoes are most often served already slit. If not, cut across the top with a knife, open the potato wider with your fork, and add butter or sour cream and chives, salt, and pepper. You may eat the skin as you go along. Don't take the insides out and put the skin aside (or take the foil off). Eat it by scooping out the insides bite by bite. Risotto: Using a fork or a spoon, push the grains of cooked rice out slightly toward the edge of the bowl, eating only from the pulled out ring of rice. Continue spreading from the center and eating around the edges in a circle. This will keep the risotto hot as you enjoy your risotto. Salad: If you are served large pieces or a whole wedge oflettuce, cut one bite at a time, using the knife provided. If the salad is served before or after the main course, use the smaller fork. If the salad is considered the main course, use the entr??e fork. Sandwich: Small sandwiches, such as tea sandwiches or canap??s, may be picked up and eaten with your fingers. Large sandwiches, if not cut in halve, should be cut with your knife before lifting and eating. Any hot sandwich served with a gravy requires a knife and fork. Shish-kabob:
Hold the tip of the shish-kabob in one hand and use the dinner fork to remove the pieces with the other. When all the food has been removed from the stick, place it on the side of your plate. Always eat the meat with your utensils.
Soup: Dip the spoon into the soup, moving it away from the body, until it is about two-thirds full, then sip the liquid (without slurping) from the side of the spoon (without inserting the whole bowl of the spoon into the mouth). It is perfectly fine to tilt the bowl slightly (again away from the body) to get the last spoonful or two of soup. Sushi: Sushi is served in bite size pieces. You can eat sushi using your fingers, chopsticks or a fork. Never bite pieces in half as they are meant to be eaten whole. Sushi is usually enjoyed by dipping into soy sauce or other condiments in your own small saucer.
Eating in Chinese Culture Eating is a dominant aspect of the Chinese culture. For instance, the Manchu Han Imperial Feast - a feast that consisted of at least 108 unique dishes from the Manchu and Han cultures- is one of the most notable Chinese cuisines since the Qing Dynasty. In China, eating out is one of the most accepted ways to treat guests. Similar to Westerners drinking in a bar with friends, eating together in China is a way to socialize and deepen friendship. Table Manners There are many traditions that govern table manners in China such as the correct treatment of guests and how to use chopsticks correctly. Although each Chinese household has its own set of table manners and rules, the foundational traditions used to welcome guests are the same. Table Manners for Inviting Guests There are common rules for inviting guests over. When the guest of honor enters into the room, the hosts stand until the guest of honor is seated. The host then orders the dishes brought, and the guest should be silent. When the dishes arrive, the meal begins with a toast from the host, and the guests then make a toast in turn in the honor of the host. The guest of honor should be the first one to start the meal. The best food in a dish should be left for the guest of honor. When the hostess says her food is not good enough, the guest must be courteous and tell her it is the best food he has ever tasted. Guests should never ??split the bill?? with the host. A guest who ??split(s) the bill?? is very ungracious and embarrassing to the host. However, it is expected for the guest to offer to pay for the meal multiple times, but ultimately allow the host to pay. Chopstick usage Since chopsticks are often used in many dishes in Chinese cuisine,
knowing the correct chopsticks usage is essential. The most common chopsticks usages are the following:
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It does not matter whether you grab the chopsticks in the middle or at the end, but you should make sure that the ends are even. Chopsticks are not used to move bowls or plates. Chopsticks are not used to toy with one's food or with dishes in common. When not in use, chopsticks must always be placed neatly on the table with two sticks lying tidily next to each other at both ends. Treat chopsticks as extension of your fingers, and do not point at other people or wave chopsticks around. Do not suck the tips of chopsticks. Do not pierce food with chopsticks. Do not point the chopsticks at another person. This amounts to insulting that person. Do not bang your chopsticks like drums. It implies you are a child, or a beggar. Do not stick chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice; it implies the food is for the dead.
Importance Table etiquette is very important to Chinese people. In Chinese culture, using correct table manners is believed to bring ??luck?? while incorrect use will bring shame. Similarly, table etiquette indicates children??s educational status: holding chopsticks incorrectly leaves a bad impression and shames the parents, who have the responsibility of teaching them. United Kingdom
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The fork is held in your left hand and the knife is held in your right when used at the same time. You should hold your knife with the handle in your palm and your fork in the other hand with the tines (prongs) pointing downwards. Food should be cut "one piece at a time" directly prior to eating, and then consumed. You may not "carve up" multiple pieces and then proceed to eat them. If you??re eating a dessert, your fork (if you have one) should be held in the left hand and the spoon in the right.
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When eating soup, you should hold your spoon in your right hand and tip the bowl away from you, scooping the soup in movements away from yourself. The soup spoon should never be put into the mouth, and soup should be sipped from the side of the spoon, not the end. It is not acceptable to use your fingers to push food onto your fork, nor to handle most food items. Some foods such as fruit, bread, sandwiches or burgers may be eaten using fingers, and fingers are mandatory for eating some items, such as asparagus spears, which are traditionally served with sauce on the side for dipping. If there are a number of knives or forks, start from the outside set working your way in as each course is served. Drinks should always be to the right of the plate with the bread plate to the left. When eating bread rolls, break off a piece before buttering.
Use your knife only to butter the bread, not to cut it. Do not start eating before the host does or instructs guests to do so. At meals with a very large number of people, it is acceptable to start eating once others have been served. When finished, place the knife and fork together at six o??clock with your fork on the left (tines facing down) and knife on the right, with the knife blade facing in. This signals that one has finished. The napkin should never be crumpled. Nor should it be folded neatly as that would suggest that your host might plan to use it again without washing it?ªjust leave it neatly but loosely on the table. Never blow your nose on your napkin. Place it on your lap and use it to dab your mouth if you make a mess. It is considered rude to answer the telephone at the table. If you need to take an urgent call, excuse yourself and go outside. Always ask for permission from the host and excuse yourself if you need to leave the table. You should place your napkin on your seat until you return. It is considered common courtesy for all gentlemen at the table to stand when a lady arrives or leaves the table. If you must leave the table or are resting, your fork should be at eight o??clock tines (prongs) pointing downwards and your knife at four o??clock (with the blade inwards). Once an item of cutlery has been used, it should not touch the table again. Food should be brought to your mouth on the back of the fork. Dishes should be served from the left, and taken away from the right. Unless the food is placed on your plate at the table, then it should arrive from the left. Drinks should be served from the right. Never lean across somebody else??s plate. If you need something to be passed, ask the person closest to it. If you have to pass something, only pass it if you are closest to it and pass it directly to them if you can. Salt and pepper shakers should be passed together. Do not take food from a neighbour??s plate and don??t ask to do so. You must not put your elbows on the table. If pouring a drink for yourself, offer to pour a drink for your neighbours before serving yourself. If extra food is on the table, ask others if they would like it before taking it yourself. When chewing food, close your mouth and only talk after you have swallowed it. Swallow all food before eating more or drinking. Do not slurp your food or eat loudly. Never pick food out of your teeth with your fingernails. Try to eat all the food you are served. Wine glasses should be held by the stem in the case of white wines, and by cupping the bowl in the case of red wines If port is served after the meal, then the decanter should be passed to the person on your left and never passed to the right. Never transfer food to your mouth with your knife, and never put your knife in your mouth or lick the blade.
United States of America Further information: Etiquette in North America Table setting
Bread or salad plates are to the left of the main plate, beverage glasses are to the right. If small bread knives are present, lay them across the bread plate with the handle pointing to the right. A table cloth extending 10 to 15 inches past the edge of the table should be used for formal dinners, while placemats may be used for breakfast, luncheon, and informal suppers.
Modern etiquette provides the smallest numbers and types of utensils necessary for dining. Only utensils which are to be used for the planned meal should be set. Even if needed, hosts should not have more than three utensils on either side of the plate before a meal. If extra utensils are needed, they may be brought to the table along with later courses. If a salad course is served early in the meal, the salad fork should be further from the main course fork, both set on the left. If a soup is served, the spoon is set on the right, further from the plate than the knife. Dessert utensils, a small (such as salad) fork and tea spoon should be placed above the main plate horizontally (bowl of spoon facing left, the fork below with tines facing right), or more formally brought with the dessert. For convenience, restaurants and banquet halls may not adhere to these rules, instead setting a uniform complement of utensils at each seat. If a wine glass and a water glass are set, the wine glass is on the right directly above the knife. The water glass is to the left of the wine glass at a 45 degree angle, closer to the diner. Glasses designed for certain types of wine may be set if available. If only one type of glass is available, it is considered correct regardless of the type of wine provided. Hosts should always provide cloth napkins to guests. When paper napkins are provided, they should be treated the same as cloth napkins, and therefore should not be balled up or torn. Napkin rings are only used for napkins which will be used repeatedly by members of the household, and therefore should never be used with a guest's napkin as they only receive freshly laundered ones. Napkins may be set on the plate, or to the left of the forks. Coffee or tea cups are placed to the right of the table setting, or above the setting to the right if space is limited. The cup's handle should be pointing right. Candlesticks, even if not lit, should not be on the table while dining during daylight hours.
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Men's and unisex hats should never be worn at the table. Ladies' hats may be worn during the day if visiting others. Before sitting down to a formal meal, gentlemen stand behind their chairs until the women are seated. A prayer or 'blessing' may be customary in some households, and the guests may join in or be respectfully silent. Most
prayers are made by the host before the meal is eaten. Hosts should not practice an extended religious ritual in front of invited guests who have different beliefs. One does not start eating until (a) every person is served or (b) those who have not been served request that you begin without waiting. At more formal occasions all diners should be served at the same time and will wait until the hostess or host lifts a fork or spoon before beginning. Napkins are placed in the lap. At more formal occasions diners will wait to place their napkins on their laps until the host places his or her napkin on his or her lap. When eating very messy foods, such as barbecued ribs or crab, in an informal setting, where it must be eaten with the fingers and could cause flying food particles, a 'bib' or napkin tucked into the collar may be used by adults. Wet wipes or ample paper napkins should be provided to clean the hands. In formal settings, bibs or napkins used as such are improper, and food should be prepared by the chef so that it may be eaten properly with the provided utensils. Even if one has dietary restrictions, it is inappropriate for non-relatives to request food other than that which is being served by the host at a private function although it is proper to alert the host to ones needs prior to the event.
General manners while dining
When a dish is offered from a serving dish (a.k.a. family style), as is the traditional manner, the food may be passed around or served by a host or staff. If passed, you should pass on the serving dish to the next person in the same direction as the other dishes are being passed. Place the serving dish on your left, take some, and pass to the person next to you. You should consider how much is on the serving dish and not take more than a proportional amount so that everyone may have some. If you do not care for any of the dish, pass it to the next person without comment. If being served by a single person, the server should request if the guest would like any of the dish. The guest may say "Yes, please," or "No, thank you." When serving, serve from the left and pick-up the dish from the right. Beverages, however, are to be both served as well as removed from the right-hand side. Dip your soup spoon away from you into the soup. Eat soup noiselessly, from the side of the spoon. When there is a small amount left, you may lift the front end of the dish slightly with your free hand to enable collection of more soup with your spoon. If you are having difficulty getting food onto your fork, use a small piece of bread or your knife to assist. Never use your fingers.
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You may thank or converse with the staff, but it is not necessary, especially if engaged in conversation with others. It is acceptable