Dining Out Rules You Should Probably Know By Now

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Are you sometimes in a quandary over how to eat in a fancy restaurant?  Or maybe how to tackle that new international dish plopped in front of you (or maybe these dishes that cost $1,000 or more)?  Worry no more with these dining out rules you should probably know by now.

#1 Dress appropriately.

If you’re out in an upscale restaurant, it is best that men wear jackets and women, a dress or a suit.  Remember to always choose shoes over sandals!

Dress appropriately.


#2 Be polite to your waiter.

Make eye contact with your waiter when signalling to them.  If that doesn’t work, put your right hand up with your index finger slightly raised to get their attention.

Be polite to your waiter.


#3 Do not put your gadgets on the table.

As tempting as it may be, keep your gadgets off the table.  Having them there will distract you, your companions, even the waiter and the entire restaurant!  What’s worse?  Scrolling through Twitter while conversing with someone.

Do not put your gadgets on the table.


#4 Bring back food if it is not cooked well to your liking.

If your food was not cooked well to your liking, it is okay to send it back—just tell everyone else at the table to go on ahead and to begin without you.

Bring back food if it is not cooked well to your liking.


#5 Make your guests order first.

If you are the host, tell the wait staff to get the order of your guest first or to ask your guest what they would like to order.

Make your guests order first.


#6 Do not reach over to sample your companion’s food.

Do not share with someone you do not know well or if you’re in a formal meal.  If you are with someone you know, just pass them your bread plate with part of your food on it.

Do not reach over to sample your companion's food.


#7 Plan the payment beforehand.

If you are the one doing the inviting, you would have to pay.  Making reservations ahead of time is also key!

Plan the payment beforehand.


#8 Order the same number of courses as your companion.

This allows you to keep pace with your companion and avoids awkwardness.  Pause after every few bites and take your time.

Order the same number of courses as your companion.


#9 Do not just pick the cheapest wine.

Just tell the waiter what kind of wine taste you would like and what you are having—even giving your price range for the wine.  The waiter will know what price points to stick with.  Take note—you do not have to pretend to be a wine expert to enjoy your wine!

Do not just pick the cheapest wine.


#10 Do not give back the wine.

As a follow-up to #9, do not give back your wine!  The rule is, just keep it even if you don’t like it because it has already been opened for you.  But if it’s really bad, you can perhaps have a little talk with your waiter.

Do not give back the wine.


#11 Place your utensils correctly when done eating.

When you are finished, position the knife and fork together at the 10:20 position on the plate.

Place your utensils correctly when done eating.


#12 Take pictures of your food.

Except when you’re with a business client or associate!  It’s not really distracting—and if you can do it discreetly, why not?

a woman having lunch at restaurant


#13 Discuss business matters afterwards.

Business must not be discussed during the meal.  Wait until the meal has been cleared away.

Discuss business matters afterwards.


#14 Know where to position your napkin.

Wait for your host to place his or her napkin on his or her lap before you begin eating.  Put the napkin on your seat if you are going to the bathroom or outside for a smoke.  As soon as you’re done eating, put it on the left side of your plate—not folded but neatly placed.  Also wait for your host to do so first.

Know where to position your napkin.


#15 Cut your food one at a time.

Cut a piece of meat or vegetable and eat it before cutting the next one.  You are not preparing a meal for a toddler.

Cut your food one at a time.

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