We all love to eat well prepared food and we love company when savoring delicacies. But when it comes to eating with someone you don’t know well, especially in a professional environment, it becomes a bit tricky. You need to enjoy the food while still get to know the person you are engaging with. You also need to still maintain a business conversation as you eat and might at some point be worried about what your eating habit will say about you.
Top Dinning Etiquette Rules to know by heart
The most important thing, however, to keep in mind is the fact that you are there for business first, then food second. Here are a few rules for you to know when having a business lunch or dinner:
The host must always take charge
The host is the person calling for the meeting. This means picking the appropriate restaurant for the business meeting and making earlier reservations. You do not want to walk into a restaurant and find that all the tables are full or fully booked.
Do not pull chairs for your guests
You need to remember that it is a business meeting and not a romantic date, therefore some gestures have limits. It is okay to hold open a door for them, but do not pull their chairs for them. In a business setting, such a gesture should be left behind.
Know the proper locations of utensils
In a business setting, you are expected to show utmost professionalism and this also includes handling the utensils. You should know which utensils to use when and where to place them after you are done. This also includes knowing which utensils to use for which purpose, especially if it is a 3-course meal.
Be sure to break bread with your hands
Under no circumstance should you use your fork and knife to break bread. The best way is to break the bread using your bare hands. Always break your bread in half and only butter the one that you are ready to use. Do not butter everything when you are not sure, you might clear it all up.
Know how to place your utensils during and after meals
This is professionally known as the rest and finished positions. The waiters in the restaurant are always moving around to clear your table of used items. They don’t have to ask you whether you are done or not. They can interpret it by the way you place your utensils. To indicate you have finished, you place your fork under your knife diagonally across the plate.
Never stack your plates
Your duty at the restaurant is to eat and pay the bill, then leave at your own pleasure. Stacking the dishes or pushing them away is not in your domain. There are people to do that.
Use the napkin correctly
The napkin is supposed to be used only to pat the sides of your mouth. Do not use it for anything else other than this. If you need to say, blow your nose, you can excuse yourself and do that in the washroom.
Do not allow your guest to pay the bill
The host, that is the person who called the meeting, is obligated to pay the bill afterwards. It is not right to allow your guest foot the bill. Even when they insist, try and convince them out of it.
Be kind to the waiters
The way you treat the waiters will have an impact on your guest and a greater impact on the policy you were trying to sell to your guest. Do not criticize the food in front of your guest and always say please or thank you to the waiters.