Table manners play an important part in making a favorable impression. They are visible signals of the state of our manners and therefore are essential to professional success. The point of etiquette rules is to make you feel comfortable - not uncomfortable.

General Dining Etiquette
  • Start eating hot food when it is served, do not wait for everyone else to begin.
  • For soup, dip the spoon into the soup, from the edge of the bowl to the center, moving away from you. Only fill it 3/4 full to avoid spilling. Sip, not slurp, from the edge of the spoon. Do not insert the whole bowl of the spoon into your mouth.
  • It is proper to tip a soup bowl slightly to get all of the soup.
  • Never turn the glass upside down to decline wine. It is more polite to let the wine be poured and not draw attention to yourself. If you are asked about wine and will not be drinking, quietly decline.
  • Do not ask for a doggy bag unless it is an informal dining situation.
  • Do not smoke at the table.
  • Do not ask to taste someone else's food. Similarly, do not offer a taste of your food to someone else.
  • Taste your food before seasoning it.
  • For hard to scoop items like peas, use your knife or a piece of bread to push the items onto your fork. Do not use your fingers.
  • Do not talk with your mouth full.
  • Cut only enough food for the next mouthful.
  • Chew with your mouth closed.
  • If soup is too hot to eat, let it cool in bowl. Do not blow on it.
  • Practice good posture. If not eating, place your hand in your lap or rest your wrists on the edge of the table. Do not put your elbows on the table.
  • If hot food is burning your mouth, discretely drink something cool to counteract the food.
  • When dining out, order foods that can be eaten with utensils.
  • Meeting materials or briefcases should be placed under your chair until it is time to discuss business.
  • Try to pace your meal to finish at the same time as your host or the majority of the group at the table.
  • Do not blow your nose at the dinner table. Excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room.
  • If you cough, cover your mouth with your napkin to stop the spread of germs and muffle the noise. If your cough becomes unmanageable, excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room.
Casual Dining Exceptions

Eating out with your friends is not an excuse to become a slob. However, dining etiquette guidelines are not as important when eating a burger and fries at.

Do not worry about ordering foods that are eaten with your hands - burgers, fajitas, sandwiches, etc.
When sharing chips and salsa at your favorite Mexican food restaurant, do not concern yourself with transferring salsa to your own plate. However, do not double dip. In other words, do not dip your chip, bite off a piece, and then re-dip your chip.

Picture Courtesy: Cucumbertown

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