Basic Table Etiquette

Eating or dining is one of the most common activities wherein people are required to act and behave in a certain way. Table manners can usually indicate how well a person is brought up, so make sure you have your etiquette down pat. You will need to practice these and master a few by heart, so you can be ready to dine with very important people. Here are some tips on table manners and guidelines on how to look proper throughout.

Making Reservations

When making reservations, make sure you stick to the schedule. Inform the host if you are going to be 15 minutes early or 15 minutes late. You should cancel as early as possible if your plans have changed and you really cannot make it to the venue. A number of restaurants might ask for your credit card number to hold reservations. If you cancel or do not show up, expect an amount to be deducted.

About Napkins

As soon as you are seated in the restaurant, take out the napkin from your place setting. Unfold this and place it on your lap. Do not shake the napkin open. The waiter at times may do the unfolding for you. It is not proper to put your own napkin in your lap. The napkin should stay on the lap until the meal ends. Avoid cleaning the cutlery and never wipe your face with it.

If you need to stand up and leave the table, fold the napkin loosely then position it at either side of the plate. Do not refold the napkin or wad it on the table. Do not place the napkin on the chair. When the meal ends, leave the napkin semi-folded at the left side of the setting. It should not be twisted or crumpled. It should not be left on the chair as well or folded neatly back together.

When Eating

In a restaurant, you have to wait until all people at the table are served before you start to eat. At dinner parties, wait for the host to pick up their forks to eat, then follow. Avoid starting before, unless the host insists that you should begin first. When using silverware, use the one farthest from the plate first, then move inwards per course. Eat to your left and drink to your right. Any food dish served at your left is yours, while all beverages served at your right is yours.

The salad fork is located at the outermost left. The dinner fork is next. The soup spoon is found at the outermost right, followed by the beverage spoon, then salad knife and dinner knife. For dessert, use the fork and spoon above the plate. Some desserts may already have a fork brought out with it. Always work from the outside in.

More Dining Rules

Aim to arrive at the venue 10 minutes early, unless specified otherwise. Pass food from the left to the right. If you need to ask for something, always say please. Respond with thank you every time a waiter removes used items. If someone asks you for salt or pepper, always serve both. Even if only one is asked, provide both. When passing anything, set it on the table, instead of passing hand to hand. Never blow your nose or burp at the table.

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