15 simple etiquette rules (a.k.a. polite protocols) for dining out
Eating is such an intensely personal experience that you may be forgiven for thinking – why do I have to follow dining etiquette rules? But the fact of the matter is that when you’re dining out, let’s say at a restaurant, how you act and what you do may have an effect on others. It could be someone sitting at your table or even the next one.
So, don’t think of these as steadfast rules. Instead, look at them as polite protocols!
Here are 15 of them:
- Follow the “start from the outside and then go to the inside” rule when dealing with cutlery like forks, spoons, and knives.
- Be mindful of what you wear in case the restaurant expects its patrons to abide by a dress code.
- Don’t talk with food in your mouth - even if someone has thrown a question at you.Wait until you finish chewing and swallowing before giving them an answer.
- Don’t add salt, pepper, or any other condiments available at the table before tasting your meal.
- If you’re having a piece of bread – tear it into small portions before applying butter, dipping it in sauce, or whatever is the case.
- If your soup is too hot – don’t blow on it. Rather stir it until the soup cools down.
- It’s a good posture to avoid placing your elbows on the table.
- Be sure to set your eating pace – cherish the food suitably; it’s not a race to the finish line.
- Place your napkin on your lap, as it wouldn’t be polite to put it on the table while using it.
- Keep the napkin on your chair (or left of your plate) whenever you need to leave the table temporarily.
- Once you start sipping on a glass, make sure you know where it is because you can’t confuse someone else’s for yours; if you want a new one, replace it by asking the waiter.
- If there’s something you don’t want to eat or are unable to finish the portion, move it to the upper left part of your plate.
- Avoid keeping your personal items like bags, sunglasses, etc., on the table.
- When you are not using the cutlery, make sure they are placed on the plate instead of the table.
- Ensure that everyone has been served before you start to dig in – unless, of course, the person who hasn’t received the order encourages you to do so (or better – they insist!).
Maintaining proper dining etiquette creates a good impression – whether personally or professionally. It shows that you are willing to do your best to enjoy the meal without inconveniencing another person - while following a classy routine.
So, the next time you’re out having dinner at your favorite restaurant, ask yourself – am I being polite by following these protocol.
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