Sitting beside a person who chews loudly, and makes slurping noises while eating, can be quite disgusting. It is believed that proper eating habits and manners are respected more than anything else in an individual. People of different cultures have different rules to be followed at the dining table. Food taken at home can be eaten in any which way since there is no one to question you but the norms of consuming food in public places are more rigid. The disadvantages of bad table manners include not only making you look like you are from the Stone Age but also embarrassing the person accompanying you. Restaurant etiquette can be based on the type of food you eat too. English and Italian dishes such as pizza and steaks require the use of forks and knives while Chinese dishes mostly require chopsticks with Indian dishes relying solely or heavily on bare hands. Again, with family and with office colleagues, restaurant etiquette varies. To gain respect and the image of a well-mannered individual, read through the following section regarding good etiquette in eateries.
How To Behave In A Restaurant
Be A Gentleman
Grace is one of the finest qualities of a gentleman! This must be followed in a restaurant. There is no harm in being chivalrous and extending the chair out for a lady to sit (make sure the chair doesn’t screech). Opening doors for the women and helping elderly people in a restaurant will say a lot about your character and upbringing.
Avoid Being Noisy
It is fun to hang out with your friends in a restaurant but not at the cost of disturbing the other diners. Avoid talking loudly; you can make wise and funny comments but keep it all low-decibel. Also, do not unnecessary converse with people sitting at other tables and annoy them.
Use Of Napkins
When it comes to eating, most of us tend to feed our clothes too. It is best to use the napkin provided to avoid any mishaps. Before eating, remove the napkin placed on the table, unfold it and rest in on your knees or lap. Once this is done, do not use it to wipe your face or other cutlery. Once you have finished eating, place the napkin, semi-folded, on the left side of your plate. Do not fold or place it on your used plates.
If you have patiently waited until your food was being cooked then what’s the harm in waiting until it has fully been served? Act maturely at the sight of food! Also, it is unadvisable to stuff your mouth with different kinds of food, at the same time. Never talk while chewing.
Treat The Waiters With Respect
Above anything else, it is important to treat the server/waiter well. It is often believed that people are constantly judged by the way they treat another person. So be respectful! Whistling, hooting or making cheesy sounds to call the waiters is utterly disrespectful. Show some courtesy and expect good service in return.
Inform In Advance
If you have a host who has invited you over and there has been a delay, make sure you inform the concerned person in advance. Otherwise, a reservation and food might go to waste.
If you have dropped food on the table or elsewhere, wait until the server picks it up. You need not worry. Another big mistake that most people make is cleaning the table where the food was dropped!
Poor Quality Service
In case you are unhappy with the service provided, do not shout out your dissatisfaction or make a scene. This only gives the idea of dominant or aggressive behaviour. Instead, tell the management politely, yet sternly, that you are not satisfied. If you are insistent, leave a suggestion note. This will probably improve their future services.
Style Of Holding Cutlery
The European and American styles of holding a fork and knife are different. While the former suggests holding the knife in your right hand and the fork in your left, the latter, i.e. the American way, suggests holding the fork and knife such only till the food is cut, post which, the fork is transferred to the right hand. It is etiquette not to make clanging sounds (from the cutlery) or scratch the plate you are eating on. Never rest any of these tools on the table or table cloth; place them by neatly in your plate.
It is not a good idea to rest your elbows on the table. Sit straight and place your hands on your lap or the edge of the table. This not only gives you a smart look but it also helps the quick digestion of food.
Eat While You Talk Or Talk While You Eat?
The best way to deal with restaurant etiquette is not to talk with food in your mouth, or to be more clear, don’t chew in between a conversation. This sight is indecent, gross and, not to mention, brings sheer embarrassment when you end up spitting food on your clothes or on the person in front of you.
Licking And Burping
Even if the food was delicious, there is no need for finger-licking! Similarly, burping is absolutely unacceptable. In fact, while eating out you must make sure that you don’t overeat; that should avoid the unpleasant burping altogether. Even when you feel like it, excuse yourself, visit the washroom and burp in the privacy of your presence.
Thank The Service
If you liked the service provided by the restaurant, do not hesitate to mention it as this does nothing to lower your image. In fact, it portrays good manners. This can also motivate the staff and management to work better.
It is allowed to sit the way you want and eat the way you like when at home or in a close friend’s home. But public places require a code of conduct, given by unwritten rules, which you need to keep in mind. Always remember that someone is watching so it is advisable to follow restaurant etiquette and keep up your standards. If not for yourself, then at least do it for the sake of the appetites of people near you.