Tap to Read ➤

Restaurant Etiquette Tips Right from the Start to the End

Puja Lalwani Jun 18, 2019
It is imperative to maintain a decent code of conduct while dining in a public place. You don't have to be highly sophisticated, but you do need to be acquainted with the basic manners. The upcoming transitions furnish some extremely helpful restaurant etiquette tips.
With a rise in the number of eateries and fast food joints, basic dining formalities seem to have taken a back seat. It is important to follow them in order to have an enjoyable eating experience.

It All Begins with Reservations

Reservations should be made well in advance. Also, if you have booked a table for 8 pm, be there by 8 pm.
Showing up fashionably late is not going to earn you any accolades, as your table might be given away to someone else waiting. If you are going to be late, ensure that you call well in advance to inform about your change of plan. This will enable the staff to cancel the table and book one for another time. Also, your booked slot can be used by someone else.

Dress to Dine

Fortunately, nowadays even a fine dining restaurant etiquette does not demand a particularly strict dress code.
You may dress up casually, but if you're not very sure about what to wear or have never been to the eatery before, it would be ideal to call up and enquire about the joint's dress code. It does no harm and saves you from sticking out like a sore thumb, either way.
Though several joints insist that they would not treat anyone who is underdressed any differently, as ultimately it is the business that matters to them, it is advisable to pay attention to what clothing the evening demands so that you may not be inevitably noticed.

When Ordering Wine

Not in every case you may be familiar with the kind of wine to be ordered. In such a case, it is advisable to seek the help of the steward.
After ordering, if you do not appreciate the taste of the wine suggested by the steward or find it tasting peculiar, you may return it back. However, if you have chosen your order, it is not advisable to send back an opened bottle of wine.

Certain Table Manners

  • If the napkin given is large, fold it to half before placing it on your lap.
  • Do not sip your beverage with food in your mouth as this is considered rude. The appropriate protocol is to finish chewing your bite and then taking a sip of your beverage.
  • While eating meat, it is ideal to cut a piece of meat, eat it, wait until you finish with the bite, and then proceed to cut the next piece of meat. During this time, ensure that your knife and fork are on your plate and not in your hands.
  • If you wish to butter a bread roll, then break the roll into a bite-sized piece and butter only that part before proceeding to eat. Eat the remaining roll in the same manner.
  • If you happen to sneeze in between a meal, excuse yourself and do not, under any circumstance, use your napkin as a handkerchief.
  • If you have to excuse yourself from the table during the course of the meal, place your napkin on your chair, as placing a soiled napkin on the table is considered rude.
  • If you are asked to pass the salt bottle, before you do so, inquire if they would also like to have pepper and then pass both together.
  • Do not answer calls at any time during the meal, and preferably keep it switched off to avoid unnecessary disturbance, especially when dining with a large group.
It is important to not forget that even children may be a part of fine dining, therefore, one should not ignore the importance of dining formalities for children. They are your responsibility, and their behavior should be taken care of by you.
  • Teach children to speak politely with the servers and waiters. They cannot be pardoned for rude behavior simply because they are young.
  • Ensure that they do not spill food around the table and on the floor while eating.
  • Do not encourage them to play with the salt and pepper bottles or with their cutlery. This can create an unnecessarily disturbing noise in the area.
  • No one likes it when kids get impatient and start running around or start crying. To avoid this, take them out to stretch a little just before the meal arrives and if possible after the meal as well.
  • Ensure that they chew the food with their mouth closed. These table manners for kids may seem very basic, but it is extremely important to observe them properly.

Paying the Tip: An Area Where We All Tend Mess Up

The amount of tip you leave, after a meal, serves as a feedback about how much you enjoyed the overall dining experience
Also remember, that most of the servers' livelihood depends on tips more than their actual salary which is already a very small amount. It is further reduced due to the payment of taxes.
Do justice by giving the right amount of tip, whether it is for poor service or excellent service. Given here are a few norms you can choose to follow.
  • If you are extremely pleased with the overall service and food, you may be generous enough to give about 20 - 25% of the total bill amount.
  • If you found the service to be just average, as per the standard norms, you can give around 15 - 20% of the total amount.
  • For an unsatisfactory service, you can give only 10% of the total amount.
  • Only in extreme cases, should you leave without paying the tip. These incidences may include rude and offensive behavior of the staff. If such an incident occurs, do inform the management about it before you leave. This kind of a feedback goes a long way in improving your future experiences, at the same place, if you wish to return.

Etiquette for Servers

Much has been said about a patron's mannerisms. However, it is important that if a patron ensures that he/she is well-behaved, then a good code of conduct should be followed by the waiters and servers as well.
Here are some tips that should be kept in mind while serving.
  • A pleasant disposition is always welcome and appreciated by patrons, so ensure that the servers are always smiling and pleasant. Moreover, a server's posture should be erect, and he/she should avoid yawning or fidgeting unnecessarily.
  • While serving, ensure that the servers do not touch any personal belongings of the patrons without their consent.
  • Also, while serving, the ladies and children should be served before the gentlemen.
  • Ensure that they apologize if any error occurs by mistake.
  • No food should be served without the use of an appropriate cutlery. Touching the food with bare hands is unacceptable.
  • Do not allow them to fiddle with their hair or face while working or serving. Not only is this unhygienic, it is disgusting when noticed by patrons and leaves a terrible impression.
  • Servers are not meant to get friendly with the guests. Their job is to ensure that the guest is satisfied and that is where it should end.
  • Moreover, servers are not allowed to engage in unnecessary conversations, discussions, jokes, and laughter with any of the guests. Pointing fingers towards any guest is an inappropriate gesture.
  • Do not allow servers to check the tip amount or count the tip money while they are still on duty or in the presence of other patrons.
For a pleasant experience either as a patron or restaurant manager, it is essential that these tips be followed by both the groups. As a patron, giving quality feedback to the management will be appreciated, as it helps in improving the service rendered.
Giving a small tip amount can leave the server in dark about his/her flaws. Proper communication is of prime importance in order to enjoy a good meal without any glitches.