Do’s and Don’ts at the Dining Table – Even though it may vary from country to country and culture to culture, knowing the basic rules behind good dining etiquette and table manners is a must. It is a must to know the general decencies, one must observe the Do’s and Don’ts of any cultural setting at the dining. Good mannerisms shown at a dining table not just helps to please your in-laws/colleagues/clients/girlfriend, but also helps create an aura of confidence around you.
Now as we always wish the very best for all our readers, we have distilled all the dining etiquette and manners of most cultures, some common factors and essentials on a need-to-know basis – so follow in practice so as not to shock/embarrass the hosts or other guests or possibly even the traditionalists on the dining table so as to let them see the best of you when you read this Do’s and Don’ts at the Dining Table!
do’s and don’ts
Go through these points and remember us when you are watching your client sign the deal on that dining table.
• If you are the host, make sure you have given a proper thought as to where you are planning to have the meal. The restaurant should have a certain kind of class and efficient service is a must. Always keep in mind the likes and preference of your guests in terms of cuisines and whether they’re vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
• Once you have decided upon the place, always make reservations. (Visit www.bookyourtable.com as we always make reservations easy for you!) Reservations show how well prepared you are and how important this meeting is for you. Besides, it also saves you from any embarrassment of waiting.
• Arrive at the appointed time. You may arrive a bit early but try not to be late. Does not matter if you are the host or the guest, the rule is the same – Be Punctual.
• Dress accordingly. Wear an evening dress or formal suit for dinner. If the dress code has been specified, make sure you are in accordance.
• If you have been invited for dinner at somebody’s home, you need to be cautious of the culture the host follows. Do a little research. Decision to remove the shoes at the entrance of the home will depend upon the cultural aspects. For example in India, it is culturally expected that you remove the shoes before going inside the house.
• Take your seat at the table when the dinner is announced and if there is any particular seating arrangement planned by the host, follow the same.
• At any dinner table, you may either be offered a cloth napkin or a paper tissue.
• After you take your seat, if it is a cloth napkin, remove the napkin placed on the dining table in front of you, unfold it, and spread it in your lap. Do not shake it open. At formal restaurants, mostly the waiter may do this for you. You can either politely tell them that you will do it yourself, or allow them to do the same.
• If there are paper tissues, keep them on the side of your table or let it be on the tissue holder. Pick only one at a time if you need to use it.
• Do not clean the cutlery or wipe your face or nose with the napkin.
• Never start the meal on your own. Wait until the host signals or announces the start of the meal or he/she themselves sit down and unfolds their napkin.
• Always wait until everyone is served the dish.
• Make sure you have learnt the art of using spoons, forks and knives. It’s a little tricky, but if you know how to use chopsticks, nothing like it!!
• Now, typically in India, not everyone would be aware of using cutlery to have their meal. So if you are the host, make sure you have chosen your cutlery carefully. Avoid using Chopsticks and a variety of cutlery. Stick to the basic-soup spoon, fork and knife. Remember- the idea is not to show how much you know. It is also important that your guest is at ease.
• In a typical Indian setting, mostly all the dishes are put at one time on the table for everyone to see, and then from there the food is served. It is a good idea to have a larger dining table keeping in mind the number of dishes and people.
• Unlike in India, in the west the dishes are brought in course by course and plates are changed after each course.
• Given such differences, most formal restaurants and homes almost all over the world follow similar table settings for plates and silverware for a sit down dinner. Bread or salad plates are placed on the left side of the main plate. Beverage and water glasses are placed to the right of the main plate. Salad fork is on your outermost left, followed by dinner fork. Soup spoon is on your outermost right, followed by beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. Your dessert spoon and fork are above your plate or brought to you when dessert is served.
• If you are confused where to start from, start using the silverware from the outer most silverware to the inner most. For example, soup is generally served at the beginning of the meal and soup spoon is the outer most silverware on the right side of the plate; so you should use the soup spoon being the outermost. But if you are still confused, wait until the others start.
• If you are the host, it is always good to ask your guests whether they have any dietary restrictions. On the other hand if you are the guest, it will be preferable not to request other food at a private function. If you have any food allergies and if you must inform about it, do so politely and preferably when accepting the invitation.
• While eating soup, you should hold your soup spoon in your right hand and dip your spoon into the soup, scooping the soup away from yourself. Make sure you do not make any noises while sipping your soup; ideally you must eat the soup from the side of the spoon. When there is a small amount left in the soup bowl, you may lift the front end of the dish slightly with your free hand to enable collection of the remaining small quantity of soup with your spoon.
• Do not blow on food to cool it. If it is too hot to eat, wait till it cools down. You could probably start a tiny conversation or pass a polite remark just to spend time.
• Once used, your silverware should not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives and spoons on the side of your plate or in the bowl.
• If you must leave the table or you are resting, your fork should be at eight o’clock and your knife at four o’clock positions (with the blade inwards).
• If you need to leave the table temporarily, ask for permission from the host and excuse yourself. Please do not mention that you are going to the restroom or for any other reason. Also, while moving away from your seat temporarily, fold the napkin loosely and place it to the left or right of your plate. Do not place the napkin on your chair.
• Avoid using your cell phone and talking too loud during the dinner.
• Typically in India, where a dish is offered from a serving dish as per the traditional, the food may be passed around or served by a host or staff. If passed, you should pass on the serving dish to the next person in the same direction as the other dishes are being passed. Place the serving dish on your left, take some and pass to the person next to you. You should make a rough judgment of the quantity of food on the serving dish and take from it onto your plate only a proportional amount so that everyone may have some. If you do not want a particular dish, pass it to the next person without comment.
• It is better to finish the serving on your plate first, before taking additional helping,.
• Bring the food to your mouth by the fork while you sit straight and not lean towards your plate.
• Cut and eat in small bites and slowly.
• Chew with your mouth closed.
• Do not slurp and do not talk with food in your mouth or make loud or unusual noises while eating.
• Do not put your elbows on the table. You may rest forearms on the table.
• Avoid constant clinking of the cutlery.
• Always make note of the service staff’s name with the help of their name badge and make it a point that you address them with their name. Never whistle or use lingoes like “boss”, “hey”, etc. Remember, only gentlemen serve gentlemen. You need to respect every profession.
• Do not wave or point silverware at others.
• Avoid burping, coughing, yawning and sneezing at the table. If you do so, say, “Excuse me.”
• Never pick food out of your teeth with your fingernails or even with toothpick in public.
• When you have finished eating, place your knife and fork together at six o’clock with your fork on the left (tines facing up) and knife on the right with the knife blade facing in. This signals that you are finished. Some people signal by resting the fork, tines up and knife blade in, with the handles resting at five o’clock, and tips pointing to ten o’clock on your plate.
• Once you have finished your dinner, leave the napkin neatly but loosely on the table. Do not make a ball of it or do not screw it even if it is a paper tissue that you had used.
• Once dessert and after-dinner coffee have been served, do not be tempted to overstay but at the same time do not show you are in a hurry to leave. Wait for others to finish their meal.
• If the dinner was at a restaurant and you were the host, give proper instructions to the restaurant staff to present the bill to you and no one else.
• Do make an effort to acknowledge the chef and service staff if you have some time. Give them feedback or express your views regarding the food and the service.
At the end, do not forget to thank your host and hostess when leaving. Now you are all ready to have a cuppa with the Queen herself with this Do’s and Don’ts at the Dining Table!! Do viswit www.bookyourtable.com for restaurants that will sure make you feel like you’ve eaten the queen’s/king’s meal!