Elementary rules of restaurant etiquette, which everyone should know

Some rules of restaurant etiquette are just common sense: do not say when your mouth is full, do not tell vulgar jokes at the table and always cover your mouth with your hand when you cough.


But there are other nuances. Who pays after a business lunch? Where to put a napkin when you get up? And how exactly to order the perfect bottle of wine? We decided to clarify some common questions of etiquette.


Patricia Nepier-Fitzpatrick of the New York School of Etiquette, author of “The art of eating: a simple etiquette for everyone”, shared some tips on dining at an expensive restaurant.


1. Always dress well


“I still maintain that men should wear a jacket for dinner, if not a suit,” says Nepier-Fitzpatrick. “Moreover, if a man is dining with clients, especially from another country (which implies a more formal nature of the meeting), he should be dressed in a jacket and tie.”


A woman should be in a dress or suit and in shoes, not sandals.


2. Do not put your phone, keys or purse on the table


It’s just common sense: it distracts not only your interlocutor but also the waiter and the whole restaurant.


3. Give your guest first


“The owner, especially if it’s a woman, must show that he or she is the guest,” advises Nepier-Fitzpatrick. – Say something like “Bring my guest, please …” or “My guest would like to order first …” to avoid confusion. ” The invitee pays for lunch is a mandatory rule


4. Do not tell the sommelier how much you want to spend on wine


Tell the waiter that you like what you eat, and give him the idea of the cost of wine, simply by pointing to the wine menu in your price range. The waiter will find something corresponding to the right price.


Do not pretend that you are a connoisseur of wine, because otherwise you may look stupid. Just try a little wine when you bring it, and see how much you like it. A score of nine out of ten is good enough.


5. Do not return wine (only if it is not disgusting)


The rules prescribe to leave wine, even if you did not like it, because the bottle was opened especially for you. However, if the wine is really terrible, you do not need to leave it. Politely explain the problem to your waiter.


6. Know where to put a napkin


Wait until your master gives a silent signal, putting a napkin on his or her knees before you start eating. When you get up (for example, to visit the restroom), put a napkin on the chair seat.


When you are finished eating, place the napkin on the left side of the plate, gently, but not folding it. Wait for the owner to do it first.


7. Do not drag across the table to try the food of your interlocutor.


“I would not recommend sharing food if you are dining with someone you do not know well, or if you are at an official business dinner,” warns Nepier-Fitzpatrick. “If you are with someone you know well, give him your plate for bread with a small piece of food on it.”


8. Do not call your waiter with a shout


Try to establish eye contact with your waiter. If it does not work out, raise your right hand with a raised index finger to get his attention.


9. Send food back if it is not cooked properly


“If you dine with other people and you have to send food back, it’s your duty to tell everyone to start without you,” says Nepier-Fitzpatrick. “However, if I am the master, I would rather suffer, but eat my dish, even if it is not cooked the way I wanted, than to make others wait for me or feel bad.”


10. Order as many dishes as your interlocutor


This will avoid embarrassment and is at the same pace as the others. Make sure you do not rush, and pause after a few slices, especially if you are the boss and do not want to make your guest hurry.


11. Do not put your instruments on the sides of the plate when you are finished eating


“We call this a tacit service code for the restaurant staff,” explains Nepier-Fitzpatrick. – When you are finished, put your knife and fork together at position 10:20 on the plate. Put the fork with the barbs up. “


12. Do not start a business conversation before the main course


Business should not be discussed before you finish the main course and take it away. Also, avoid complaints about business associates and work throughout the dinner.


13. And remember your manners!


  • Often wipe your fingers and mouth with your napkin.
  • Cut one piece of meat or fish at a time on your plate and eat it before you cut the other.
  • Spread butter on your plate, never in the air!
  • Look inside your mug or glass (not on top of it) when you are drinking.
  • Sit straight and do not put your hands (including elbows) on the table.

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