Dining out is meant to be a very enjoyable experience. The point of etiquette rules is to make you feel comfortable, not uncomfortable. You will make a good impression on your dining companions if you have good table manners. The Undercover Divas believe the following tips will help you enjoy your dining experiences.
Turn off your cell phone or switch it to silent or vibrate. If you must make or receive a call, excuse yourself from the table and step outside. Friends will be fine with you answering a quick text with one or two words. But only do it once.
When you are finished with your menu and are ready to order, place your closed menus on the edge of the outside of your table to signal your server that you are ready.
Remember your manners, always say please for something. Be sure to say thank you to your server and bus boy after they have removed used items from the table.
If you are in a situation where your hands feel sticky, use a clean spoon and take a small ice cube from your water glass and discretely wipe it on your fingers/hands. Set the unused part of the cube on your coffee cup dish or napkin from a drink and dry your hands with your napkin. It is a quick fix that works.
Start with the fork and spoon that is farthest from your plate, working your way in, as courses arrive. Salad fork is always the first on the left and the smallest.
Some appetizers are made to be eaten with the fingers, and that is fine. When a bread and butter plate is on the table, use it appropriately. Only butter the portion of the bread or roll that you will eat first, never butter the whole thing. But put enough butter on your dish for what you plan on eating, and once used, keep the butter knife on that plate.
Taste your food before seasoning. Never blow on your food to cool it off. Wait until it cools. Once the silverware has been used, never put it back on the table, keep it on the edge of your plate. Eat in small bites.
Cover your coffee cup, wine glass, etc. with your hand if you do not want the offered refills. No words are necessary. If there is a toast made at the table, it is proper to not “clink” your glasses with each other. An “almost clink” is all that is required.
Loud eating noises, burping and slurping are very impolite. Never wave or point with silverware. Talking with your mouth full is a choking hazard. Also, always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Never reach across the table to reach for food, ask your friends to pass the item. Don’t talk too loud. Never yell across the table or across the restaurant if you see someone you know. Walk up to them and say hello, instead.
If you have a cloth napkin, place it on your lap within one minute of sitting. When you are finished eating, place it loosely on the table, never on the plate or on your chair.
Drink in moderation. Dining out with others is not the time nor the place to get drunk.
If you have children, talk to them about how to behave before leaving home. If they misbehave, take them outside the restaurant to handle the situation. Be considerate of others.
It is good manners to not begin eating until everyone has received their food. It is even better manners for the person whose food has been delayed in the cooking process to encourage everyone to start without them.
Tell the server before you order if you need a separate check.
If there is only one bill and it is divided up, it is not fair to make everyone pay the same. Make sure you put in what you owe, plus tax, plus tip, and if you are a good guy and had a good time, a little extra for those who can’t seem to figure it out. Don’t overcharge the non-drinkers.
If the bill is to be paid with a credit card, the classy thing to do is to leave the tip in cash. (Easy way to figure out the tip for 20%: Take the amount of the bill, say $17.30, move the decimal point one to the left, which would be $1.73. Double for 20% and round up to the nearest dollar. That would be $3.46 rounded to $4.00. Tip $4.00). If you cannot afford to tip, you cannot afford to eat out.
Server should receive a 20% tip except in extreme circumstances. Bartenders generally receive 10% to 15%, if you needed to wait at the bar for all to arrive.