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Impress your Dinner Clients and Dates with these Dining Etiquette Tips

As more and more people dine out, restaurant patrons often take for granted the service of the wait staff and forget there are other people in the restaurant. Here are 25 tips to help you brush up your restaurant etiquette for the next time you visit your favourite dining place.

  1. Know the suggested dress code of the restaurant.

  2. Gentlemen-hats off!

  3. Wait to be seated.

  4. Place the napkin on your lap as soon as you are seated.

  5. Nothing goes on the table except the food and tableware. cell phones, keys, lipsticks etc. are to be kept out of sight

  6. Wait for the last person to be served before you start to eat.

  7. Make eye contact with the server. Do not call out to them.

  8. The wait staff should be treated with respect. Be gracious in your tone, speech and actions.

  9. Everyone in your party should try to order the same number of courses.

  10. Hold your wine glass by the stem. If you do not want any wine, do not turn your glass upside down.

  11. Pass the salt and pepper together, never one at a time.

  12. When finished, never put a cloth napkin on top of a dirty plate. Place your napkin on the left of your plate.

  13. Leave within 15 minutes of finishing your meal—do not monopolize a table.

  14. Decide among yourselves before hand how the bill will be organized—splitting, etc.

  15. Inform the server before your meal how the bill should be organized—individual bills, one bill being paid by the group, etc.

  16. Tip well: 20-25%. Remember the server tips out to the bartender, the kitchen and the greeting staff. If the bartender has made you special drinks all night, personally tip the bartender.

  17. If you are unhappy with the service, leave a small tip and ask to see the manager. Tell the manager about your experience, and why you are not leaving a bigger tip.

  18. Get control of your children.

  19. Do not talk loudly.

  20. Ten-foot cell phone rule: if you must take a call remove yourself and go where no one can hear you.

  21. No texting under the table—everyone knows what you are doing.

  22. If you are expecting an important call during the meal, at the beginning of the meal explain to everyone you might have to take a call. Have your phone on vibrate only.

  23. Chew with your mouth closed

  24. Do not lick your fingers use a napkin. If you need a new napkin(s) simply ask the server.

  25. Upon leaving, thank your server and the management. A gracious guest will always be welcomed back.

Follow these tips and you will be confident that you are presenting yourself in a way that makes your dinner companions and restaurant staff enjoy having you there.

Jeannie Vaage, Etiquette Consultant, VIP Protocol
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