DINING ETIQUETTE: MAKES EATING A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE

Etiquette refers to correct manners and behaviour in a formal eating scenario in the world of dining. Making a positive impression at both lunch/dinner interviews and social business scenarios requires proper manners. The following tips can help you stand out as a polished professional, even if common sense is frequently your greatest guide.

SOCIAL HOUR

The objective of reception or sociable hours is usually to network for jobs and entertain clients. Follow the majority of people in the room’s lead and the following fundamental guidelines:

  1. At least one hand should be free. If you’re standing, always use one hand to hold a drink or food; never use both. Hold a drink in your left hand so you have a dry hand to provide a solid but not crushing handshake. 
  2. You can eat and drink while sitting,  but standing and greeting is usually preferable. 
  3. Maintain strong eye contact. Don’t forget to greet the host/hostess and refrain from interrupting discussions.
  4. Approaching two individuals who are deep in discussion is not a good idea. Wait until there is a pause in the conversation to introduce yourself. To join the conversation, look for visual signals. 
  5. Make eye contact with the other person. Inquire about people’s backgrounds and occupations. 
  6. Always provide your contact information and be aware of when it is time to go. Move on to the next group or person, follow up with prospective contacts, and assimilate new information.
  7. Maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout your discussions. In certain situations, stay away from contentious topics like politics, religion, and sports. Make an effort not to take over the conversation.

ARRIVAL OR SITTING DOWN

  1. Arrive on time, and if you know you’ll be late, phone ahead. 
  2. Bags, handbags, sunglasses, mobile phones, and briefcases should not be placed on the table. 
  3. Maintain correct posture and keep your elbows away from the table. 
  4. Wait 15 minutes before phoning to inquire about your dinner companions’ arrival status.
  5. When meeting someone get up if you are seated, smile and extend your hand, that handshake should last for 3-4 seconds. 
  6. Men are expected to help ladies with their chairs, but this does not always happen; at luxury establishments, wait staff may provide assistance. 
  7. Take your napkin, fold it in half, and lay it on your lap once seated.

TABLE SETTING AND USAGE OF NAPKIN

  1. When faced with a variety of dining utensils, keep in mind the rule of thumb of starting on the outside and working your way in. If you have two forks, for example, start with the fork on the exterior. 
  2. Never converse with your cutlery and never make a fist with a utensil. 
  3. When you’re not using the utensils, place them on your plate rather than on the table.
  4. Following your host’s lead, you should place your napkin on your lap shortly after sitting down at the table. The end of the napkin on your legs should be folded inwards.
  5. Throughout the meal, the napkin should be kept on your lap. If you leave the table, place your napkin on your chair as an indicator to the waiter that you will be back or to the left of your plate after the meal which signifies the meal is over and you are done.  

BEING SERVED AND PLACING AN ORDER

1. Unless your host urges you to, do not order the most costly item on the menu, appetisers, or dessert. Even if the interviewer orders alcohol, it is better not to order it; nevertheless, if alcohol is taken, it should be drunk in moderation. 

2. Ordering things that are messy or difficult to consume is not a good idea (i.e. spaghetti, French onion soup).

3. Before you begin, wait until everyone has been served, unless the person who hasn’t been served urges you to do so.

BE AWARE OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF EATING 

  1. Continental or European Style: Use the right hand to cut the food and the left hand to hold it while cutting and eating. 
  2. American Style: Use the right hand to cut the food and the left hand to hold it, then swap hands to eat with the right hand.

WHILE EATING 

  1. While eating Slowly chew your food and take only a few tiny nibbles at a time. 
  2. Chew with your mouth closed and avoid talking while eating.
  3. Bread should be ripped into little pieces and just a few tastes of butter should be consumed at a time. Bread should not be sliced with a knife or eaten whole. 
  4. Instead of blowing on your soup, gently stir it to chill it. Take a spoonful of soup and move it away from you. 
  5. It is not necessary for you to clean your plate. Leaving some food on your plate is considered courteous.

AFTER YOU’VE COMPLETED 

1.When you’re done, don’t stack or push your dishes away; instead, leave them in the same position. 

2. Place your fork and knife diagonally across the plate, side by side, with the fork and knife pointing at 10:00 and 4:00 on a clock face, respectively. This indicates to the wait staff that you have completed your meal. 

3. In most cases, the individual who begins the dinner pays and tips appropriately.