Modern Restaurant Etiquette

Restaurant Seating

Etiquette has changed over the years with the introduction of cell phones, casual atmospheres and a change in social norms. Here are the modern restaurant etiquette tips that will help you and those around you have a more enjoyable restaurant experience.

Arriving and Wait Times

Arrive on time for your reservation with all members of your party. While it might not seam like a big deal, restaurants need to manage their bookings in order to manage time and optimize their profits. If you do not have a reservation, expect to wait for a table on certain nights. If you have to wait, put your name on the list and either offer to sit at the bar or pop over to nearby establishment and have a drink while you wait.

Taking a Seat

Only ask to be re-seated if you are uncomfortable. There is a method to seating so leave it to the hostess.

Leave your Phone in your Pocket

When you are seated, put your cellphone down and pick up your menu. Going out to eat is an experience and you impact those around you when you are on your cell phone. This includes the restaurant. Be present and aware of your surroundings.

Menu Choices and Substitutions

Many chefs carefully put together each of their dishes in order to create an adventure for your palate. It is one thing to ask for substitutions for a legitimate allergy, but try to be adventurous. If you don’t know what something is, don’t be afraid to ask and learn more about foods and food preparation. If you follow a certain diet, be sure to do some research ahead of time to see if the restaurant will be able to accommodate your diet.

Eating Etiquette

  1. Put your napkin on your lap
  2. Chew with your mouth closed
  3. Don’t talk with your mouth open
  4. Catch your server’s eye or raise your hand in order to get their attention
  5. Place your knife and fork across your plate when finished
  6. Say, “Please” and, “Thank You”!

Other Patrons

It isn’t an enjoyable experience to sit near a table with loud talkers, or a table with unruly or crying children. Remember that it is not the restaurant’s fault. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, speak with your server and ask to be re-seated. If the restaurant is full, ask to have the manager speak to the disruptive patrons.

Picking up the Cheque

Avoid quibbling over the cheque at the end of the night. How many times have you been at a restaurant knowing that there would be a mad dash of hands reaching for the bill? It detracts from the experience and puts your server in an awkward situation. Either work it out before you go to the restaurant so that it is not a concern, or excuse yourself from the table for a restroom break and try to discreetly slip your credit card to the server before the bill comes.

15%+ Tipping

Don’t skimp on your tip! I read an article indicating that certain generations are tipping under 15%. If you don’t have a debit machine with a % button or your smart phone handy, it is easy to calculate the percentage by first finding 10%. For instance, if your bill is $44.26, just round up to $45. 10% is $4.50. Then divide $4.50 by 2 = $2.25. Then simply add the 4.50 + 2.25 = 6.75. If you really loved your experience, consider tipping 20%. If you had a particularly bad experience, speak with the server or their manager and explain, rather than leaving a poor tip.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Reviewing Your Experience Online

Make sure you review the bad and the GOOD! It is very easy these days to jump online and review a restaurant. Often times, bad experiences leave a more profound mark on us so we are more inclined to write a review. Before you leave your negative review, did you speak with the manager of the restaurant and try to find a resolution to your concerns before you decided to leave a bad review? Human error is something that happens to us all and many restaurants are happy to rectify a problem or improve their service. If you feel that is confrontational, try emailing or writing the restaurant with your concerns. It is better than leaving a bad review anonymously. When you review a restaurant make sure your reviews are meaningful and accurately reflect how the restaurant’s service, atmosphere and quality for price rank. How to Write a Useful Restaurant Review.

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