Rules of Etiquette in a Restaurant

The Most Important Rules of Etiquette in a Restaurant

Not sure how to behave at the table? Etiquette in a restaurant is not a complicated thing, and those who master it will be able to eat in complete peace in any restaurant.

Most of the rules of conduct related to the restaurant are actually very logical – do not talk while chewing, be kind, put your hand to your mouth when yawning or coughing, and there are some rules that often confuse – where to put a napkin, who should order first food, who pays at the end of dinner.

It is important to think a little about the manners we show while eating. Apart from the fact that they are the basic culture of the behavior of every person, they can greatly influence how others see us.

Take a look at these general tips regarding etiquette in a restaurant, you will surely remember them the next time you enjoy delicious food, or when you are at an important business dinner, or at a special meeting, where there must be no behavioral errors.

Kindness – what they will remember you for

If you are a man in female company, be a gentleman. Pull the chair for the girl, open the door first, and help the elderly if needed.

If, on the other hand, you are in a large, talkative company, try not to be too loud. Also, do not enter into unnecessary conversations with people at the next table.

Do not talk while chewing. Food that flies everywhere while you talk is not a pleasant sight for anyone.

It is said that a person can get to know himself through his treatment of others, and especially through his treatment of subordinates. Be kind to the staff and be patient with waiting for food.

  • Do not call the waiter with a whistle or loud shouts. All you have to do is discreetly raise your hand or look at him.
  • Even if you are dissatisfied with the service, don’t yell at employees or make a dramatic scene. Instead, tell the restaurant manager kindly but firmly that you are not satisfied with the service.
  • If the food you received is tasteless or unbaked, feel free to return what you ordered and wait for a new, better prepared portion.
  • If, on the other hand, you are very satisfied with the service, do not hesitate and feel free to praise the staff.


If you have agreed to go out to the restaurant, arrive on time at the scheduled place. Leaving someone waiting in a restaurant is not a rule of etiquette at the table.

If you are late for an agreed lunch or dinner, be sure to call the person you have agreed with and let them know if you are late or not. On the other hand, if your whole company cancels a reservation, you should call the restaurant and tell them that, so that they would not save a free place for you in vain.

Kindness – what they will remember you for

Small rules for ordering and paying in a restaurant

When it comes to ordering food – always let the guest order first. Of course, before dinner, you need to determine who takes whom to dinner. This can be confusing when it comes to a loving couple, but you will also see who is taking whom for lunch or dinner to a restaurant when arranging an outing. When this is clarified, feel free to tell the waiter who approaches to take the order: “Can you please bring this and that to my guest?”, or “My friend will order first”. This will avoid unnecessary confusion about ordering.

The same thing applies to payment – the person who invites you to the restaurant is the person who pays. When you go out to dinner with someone, you can even immediately give the waiter a credit card and so painlessly end up asking who pays in the end.

How to properly use cutlery

You may not have known this information, but there are two ways to use cutlery – the European [1] and the American way [2]. They are different.

  • In the European way, the knife is held in the right hand and the fork in the left hand.
  • In the American way, the utensils are held in both hands only until the food is cut, and then the fork is transferred to the right hand.

Try not to be rude with the cutlery and dispose of them properly. Cutlery should always be placed on a plate, never on a table. Finally, place the cutlery so that they point in a direction that is approximately clockwise (between 11 and 12 o’clock), and the fork should be turned upside down.

How to properly use cutlery

How to use napkins in a restaurant

Napkins can be unexpectedly confusing in restaurants, especially the big, canvas ones, so here are a few rules of table etiquette related to them.

  • Before you start eating, put it unfolded on your lap.
  • It would not be bad to wait for the one who takes you out for lunch or dinner to put the napkin on his lap first, because that means that you should start eating.
  • Do not use the same napkin to wipe your face.
  • When you have finished eating, place the napkin, unfolded, on the left side of your plate, not under it.
  • If you go to the toilet, leave the napkin on the chair, not on the table.

A few more rules of etiquette in a restaurant

Choose a wardrobe according to the place you are going. There are clothes, like slippers and tracksuits, that are not suitable for going to a certain restaurant.

If your food falls on the floor or table, and even if you spill your drink, don’t worry! Wait for the waiter to sort out what happened, don’t try to clean it yourself, because that will create even more chaos and confusion, and the situation will become uncomfortable. The staff knows how to react quickly and efficiently when these small accidents occur.

It is not good to keep your elbows on the table. Your hands should be on your lap or on the edge of the table so that your elbows do not touch the table. Believe it or not, this rule exists because this posture promotes digestion.

It is difficult to escape from technology nowadays. However, you should not keep your mobile phone, tablet, or other devices on the table while eating at a restaurant. Also, keys and bags have no place on the table. This pile of things will bother both your friends with whom you are in the restaurant and the waiter who needs to bring you order. Not to mention how rude it is to type messages, hang out and surf the internet and social networks, while the one who sits across the table gets bored.

When ordering food and drinks, do not tell the waiter how much money you have set aside for him to recommend something based on that. Do your best and take a look at the menu yourself, and find what suits you best. Basically, it is not polite to talk about money and the prices of what is eaten and drunk at the table.

After all, relax, enjoy and of course choose the right place .

These are just some of the unwritten rules of etiquette in a restaurant.

Enjoy your meal!

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