Eating out with the family can be a breeze but what if you’re faced with having a meal, business style. Eating with someone you don’t know well in a professional environment is a tricky situation. On the one hand, you’re trying to get to know the person better, but on the other hand, you’re also worried about what your eating habits say about you.
Years ago, dining etiquette was so important that people attend classes just for the specific purpose of learning everything from the proper seating arrangement, napkin placement, and proper use of each utensil. But time has changed it all and we have become more carefree and informal.
Regardless of what you’re eating, proper etiquette at the table is important. And now, even when it’s just you and your family having a meal together, you still want to set a good example for your kids. We tried to summarize the basic dining etiquette here as your guide the next time you dine out with family, friends, or for business.
When Dining Out
Dining out has become more casual over the years but it is still unacceptable to talk with your mouth full of food, interfere with other diners’ experiences by displaying improper etiquette, or rock the table with your elbows. It’s very important to follow certain manners in both formal settings and fast-food restaurants.
Table Manners Basics
I think we can all agree that table manners are important in both professional and social situations, thus, basic knowledge on this is a very good idea. Now, you might be surprised if things are a little bit different in every region, but the good thing is they are generally the same and acceptable.
Whether no one ever taught you dining etiquette or you’ve forgotten what you learned, here are some tips to show that you know how to behave at the table.
- Chew with your mouth closed while eating.
- Keep your smartphone off the table and set it to silent or vibrate. Finish your meal first and then you can check on your phone but away from the table.
- Hold utensils correctly. Don’t use your fork or spoon like a shovel or stab your food.
- Wash up and come to the table clean. Don’t groom or attend to hygiene at the table.
- Remember to use your napkin.
- Wait until you’re done chewing to sip or swallow a drink.
- Pace yourself with fellow diners. Cut only one piece of food at a time.
- Avoid slouching and don’t place your elbows on the table while eating (though it is okay to prop your elbows on the table while conversing between courses, and always has been, even in Emily’s day).
- Instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you.
It all seems so easy, right? But for some reason, these basic manners are often overlooked and even forgotten by some people. Learning this basic dining etiquette is not Rocket Science and won’t take so much of your time. Just imagine being a very good example to your little ones when they observe how you behave and eat the next time you dine out, or how impressed your possible client is on how proper you are when dining with them.