Napkin Etiquette

Napkins. At restaurants, we rarely think twice about them. We toss them around, don't use them and tuck them into clothes. While it may not seem like it, napkin etiquette is as important as other forms of etiquette. Especially because we come across as more considerate to the fellow diners at the table as well as to the wait staff. Here are some of the basics you need to know. 

Napkin Placement: This will depend on the restaurant - at a more high end restaurant, the wait staff will place the napkin on your lap. If not, you should do so yourself. Do not wait until your meal is served - place the napkin on your lap as soon as you are all seated at the table. At buffets meanwhile, unfold the napkin once you begin eating. 

Unfolding: In an instance that you have to place the napkin yourself, don't shake or snap open your napkin. Simply unfold it. If your napkin is large, unfold it halfway. If it is smaller, then do not unfold it. 

Tucking: Napkins are not meant to be tucked into your collars, between the buttons of your shirt or in your belt. 

Usage: The napkin is to be used to blot or pat your lips during the meal. Not to wipe. 

Napkin Rings: Once in a while you will see napkins with rings on them. In this case, you are supposed to place the ring at the top left of the setting. Once you're done with the meal, grasp the napkin at the centre and pull it through the ring, then lay it on the table with the point facing the centre of the table. 

Leaving The Restaurant: When leaving, loosely fold the napkin and leave it at the left side of your plate. If there is no plate, then leave it in the middle. 


If you are leaving your seat to go to the loo or to serve another plate at the buffet, leave the napkin on your chair soiled side up. 

If coffee or tea is served after dinner, then the napkin must remain on your lap.


Rihaab Mowlana

Foodie • Bona-fide expert on Harry Potter universe • proud Slytherin • Unapologetic know-it-all • Keyboard warrior • Occasionally sarcastic • Incessant retweeter • Self proclaimed funny girl •


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