It is irritating and rude to answer a call when you are dining with your date; well, even at home, keep your phone away, and possibly, switch it off at dinner time. Various things are overlooked but are nonconformance.
A prospective employer may invite you for dinner to observe your table etiquette. It is a part of the interview. An employer needs someone with basic etiquette as they do not have time to train people on basic etiquette. The dinner also serves as bonding between you and your future employer.
There are basic dinner etiquettes that you should observe. In modern society, we tend to ignore simple rules such as blowing on food or talking with food in the mouth.
Let us look at some basic dinner etiquettes and the importance of table manners.
Etiquette before Dinner
- Respond to the invitation. It is essential to let your host know you are attending. It allows them to set enough tables for the guests.
- Do not bring extra guests to dinner. However, if the invitation has an offer for additional guests, you can ask the host if it is okay to bring your guests.
- If your host is inviting you for dinner at their home, always carry a gift for them. It shows you are glad for the invite.
- Before you start eating, switch off your phone. It ensures you have a peaceful dinner time. If you are waiting for an urgent call, put your phone on silent mode. You can always excuse yourself later.
- As a host, set the head of the table for left-handed people.
- Always walk your guests to their chairs. If it is a large party, you can point out the chairs for the guests.
- The host should begin to eat ahead of the guests. It is a gesture to welcome the guest to dine. When you are seated at the table, allow all the other guests to be served before you start eating.
- While at the table, everything should be passed to the right.do not reach out to other people’s space, always ask them to pass what you need. Remember to taste your food before you add salt and seasoning.
- Ensure all silverware does not touch the table. Let the silverware settle on the plate. Know beforehand how you should arrange the silverware when you are full or need more food.
- Place the napkin on your laps. Do not leave the table before you finish your food. In case leaving the table is inevitable, stand, and place your napkin neatly on the chair.
- Do not place your elbow on the table; instead, rest your hands on the laps. When you are eating, let your wrist rest at the edge of the table.
- When your silverware fall, let the waiters collect them—request for another set. If there are no waiters, collect and place on the table, then request the host for another set.
- Chew silently with your mouth closed, do not talk with food in the mouth.
Etiquette after Eating
- If you are the one who invited your date out, cater to the bills.
- Leave a tip of about 20% of the total bill. It shows your date that you care for others.
- Leave the plate on its position after eating. Lay the silverware diagonally to signal that you have finished your meal. Fold the napkin and place it by the side of the plate.
- Remember to thank your host.
General Dinner Etiquette
- Do not place your phone on the table. It ensures you concentrate on your date and your food.
- Dress well for the occasion. Know beforehand if the dinner is formal or informal. You can call the host to confirm the dress code.
- If you intend to split the bill with your date, let them know beforehand.
- Always sit upright at the table.
- Never use a napkin as a tissue. If you need one, you can request for it.
- Arrive early or notify the host when you are sure to be late.
- Introduce yourself to the host with confidence. Maintain eye contact and do not interrupt an ongoing conversation.
The essential part of dinner etiquette is to make others enjoy the dinner. No one needs to be disgusted by your improper behaviour when they are eating. Proper etiquette also prevents you from embarrassing yourself.