With our days being consumed with work and other responsibilities, we visit restaurants quite frequently. And while often overlooked, there is a certain sense of decorum we must maintain when at such establishments. Check out these restaurant etiquette basics and additional tips to ensure you (and your guests) have the best experience at restaurants.
● It is always advisable to make reservations, especially if the restaurant is a popular one. This not only makes things convenient for you, but also allows you to make any special preference related requests. This includes seating, dietary requirements etc.
● If you are inviting guests, always consider any dietary or religious requirements they may have. It is also prudent to give them a choice of restaurants to pick from. After all, you want them to have a good time.
● If the group is large, then pick a restaurant that has a wide variety of food to pick from.
● When taking guests, it is always advisable to take them to a restaurant that you've visited before and know is good.
Arriving / Valet
● If you use the valet service, you should always say "thank you" to the attendant when they take your vehicle.
● When your car is returned, ensure that you tip the attendant.
● Usually, large items such as any packages, briefcases, umbrellas etc are usually checked.
● Women take their purses to the table. These purses can be kept at the feet or on the lap.
● If you are the first to arrive, you should wait for the others before being seated. As a policy at many restaurants, you will be shown to a table so you can be seated before the rest of your party arrives, but it is polite to wait.
● If you are hosting the meal at the restaurant, you may direct guests to chairs according to your choice. Otherwise, your guests may sit where they please. Nevertheless, it is prudent to offer guests the best seat i.e. facing the window or overlooking the restaurant.
● The host and hostess generally sit opposite each other.
● Wait to look at the menu once you are seated. Rushing to decide on food shows that your guests are not your first priority. Hold the menu low down, or against the table. Once you are done, leave it flat on the table.
● While at the table, leave your phone in your purse or pocket. Constantly looking at your phone during a meal is not only rude, but also signifies that your guest is not important to you.
● Once the food arrives, wait for everyone to be served before eating.
● If you are the host, let the waiter know in advance that you should receive the check. When you are ready to pay, place the check holder at the edge of the table with the cash or the card sticking out.
● Decide ahead of time how you will be splitting the bill, and inform the waiter ahead. If there is no particular host, you may split the bill either the British way or the American way. In the British way - you split the check equally, irrelevant of what and how much you ordered. In the American way, you only pay for what you eat.