It has happened to the best of us – we are at a very nice restaurant and something has caught us off-guard. Whether it was an unfamiliar dish or the 6th fork that got you flustered, being prepared for the next business lunch can help you feel confident and prepared for your next meal (and deal!)
Remember – dressing and acting professionally during business meals helps to establish long term relationships. One or two faux pas can be forgiven as long as you are gracious and respectful to everyone – including wait staff.
I frequently receive phone calls from high-achieving career and women business owners asking about dining rules, tips, social graces along with business card etiquette.
Here are 10 dining rules that commonly pop-up:
- If you don’t want wine? Never flip your wine glass over – just say ‘no thank you’ if offered.
- Napkins are tricky, but here are the secrets: Immediately after sitting, place the napkin in your lap. If the napkin is in the goblet, this is a sign from the restaurant that the server will place the napkin on your lap. If you excuse yourself during the meal, place the napkin on the left hand side of your plate or on the chair.
This means you aren’t done with your meal. When done, place napkin on the right of the plate and your fork and knife horizontally across the plate.
- Don’t push your plate away or stack your dishes.
- Use utensils from the outside in; those at the top of your plate are for dessert.
- Don’t put your purse, cell phone, or keys on the table. Be sure to turn your cell phone off before you entered the restaurant.
- Never apply lipstick or touch your hair at the table.
- Break bread into bite sized pieces. Butter the pieces one at a time. Don’t butter your bread directly from the butter disk. Put a small amount of butter on your bread plate.
- Always pass salt and pepper shakers together, even if you are asked to pass one or the other – they are a pair.
- When passing food, offer to serve your neighbor before serving yourself.
- Wait until everyone has been served before you begin eating; in a large group, you may start after four or five people next to you have been served.
According to a poll conducted by The Creative Group, an advertising and marketing firm, being rude to a restaurant employee is the No. 1 reason a business lunch goes bad, and the other top two reasons – arriving late and poor table manners.
The best news is that all three of those are completely within your control!
Hope you enjoyed this post on dining tips.
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As a reminder, for career and businesswomen it’s always about – ‘Results. Uniqueness. Differentiation.’ I call this your ‘RUD’.
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