No matter what kind of amazing skill you have in the operating room, it doesn’t always translate well to other areas of life. If you’re planning a fine dining event or you’ve been asked to attend one, it’s important to brush up on your dining room skills so you can feel confident during the event and avoid embarrassment.
1. One of the most common areas of confusion is payment. If you’re inviting someone to dine with you, you’re expected to pay. Make sure your guest knows it’s your treat. If you’re the guest, suggest separate checks and take your cue from your host.
2. When you extend an invitation, provide the details. Who else will be attending and what your guests should wear is just as important to the people you’ve invited as the date and time you’re asking them to get together. Make sure you’re clear on everything in the beginning, so you don’t spend all your time answering questions later.
3. Follow the lead of your host. Don’t start eating until every person at your table has been served, and not until the host begins to eat. Let your host do everything first, such as trying the wine or putting his or her napkin in his or her lap. It’s the polite way to do things, and you want to get noticed for all the right reasons.
4. Make sure you excuse yourself from the table if you have to answer a call or send a text. It’s impolite to do those things at the table, no matter how many other people you see doing them. You don’t need to join the rude crowd. Keep your etiquette strong, and people will take note of your politeness.
5. Don’t dissect your food when it arrives. You’re not performing an autopsy on whatever is on the plate. Cut your food into bite-sized pieces as you eat them, not all at the same time, and don’t saw at or pick through your food in any way.
6. Think BMW. Bread plate on the left, Meal in the middle, Wet things – water, wine, etc. – on the right.
7. Pick your eating style. Some people hold knife in one hand and fork in the other all meal, and others pick up their utensils as needed and put them back down in between. Pick one.
8. Don’t worry about the “extra” utensils. Use the outermost options first, and work your way in with each course. The fork and spoon at the top of the plate? Those are for dessert. Use them together.
9. Scarfing down your food is never a good choice. It’s unhealthy, and doesn’t look very nice. Especially with a formal dinner, eat more slowly and enjoy the experience.
10. Be sure to show that you’re grateful. You should say “thank you” before you leave, of course, but there’s more to it than that. A sincere note, whether handwritten or through email, is an important way to show that you care about your host and appreciate the time you spent together.
Confidence in the dining room is a business skill that’s fading away, unfortunately. It’s a valuable one, and something you should cultivate even though you’re busy.
Last Updated on April 10, 2014