Social etiquette in the restaurant - 2021

Knowing the rules of good manners gives us a feeling of personal well-being and makes us feel comfortable with others.

Social etiquette in the restaurant

It is not surprising that many times someone is judged for their table manners, hence the importance of knowing certain basic rules that will prevent us from being treated badly in front of the rest of us. diners.

Although this blog focuses on the restaurant administration and managementIn our opinion, it is worth knowing these rules to provide a better service to our clients.

Most used rules

Here are some of the most universally used rules for meals and receptions:

  • Never put on makeup or comb your hair at the table
  • Start eating until your host does or until they ask you to.
  • Do not smoke during a meal and if you have no other choice, do so until dessert has been served.
  • When you finish eating, place the napkin on the left side of the plate, never on top of it.
  • Never try to cool a hot soup or drink by blowing on it.
  • The napkin is placed on your lap, if it is small it can be opened completely and if it is large it remains folded towards you.
  • If you want to share food, use the bread plate.
  • Never use toothpicks on the table, fingernails, or napkins to dislodge food.
  • Don't hang your napkin around your neck.
  • When you've finished eating, don't remove your plate or pile it up. Place your fork and knife at the clock position as if it were “twenty past four” with the fork upside down and the knife to your right facing
  • towards the fork.

The following pictures show how the cutlery should be used on the table.

Social etiquette in the restaurant
Correct way to place cutlery when taking a break
  1. When pausing, the cutlery should be positioned as seen to indicate that it is not finished yet.
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Correct way to place the cutlery when you have finished eating
  1. Correct position of cutlery when you have finished eating.


Many times the distribution of a table can be confusing as there are many forks, spoons and knives but do not worry, follow these rules and it will be fine:

  • Start with the cutlery on the outside and take the others with each dish that is served. In other words, the fork that is furthest from the plate will be the first one you use.
  • The forks are used on the left and the knives and spoons on the right. The exception is the oyster or shellfish fork that sits to the right next to the soup spoon.
  • If you do not prefer meat, soup or another dish, the waiter will remove the silverware that you will not need.
  • The dessert spoon and fork are at the top of the plate. When dessert is served, place the fork to the left of the plate and the spoon to the right.
  • To eat dessert, slice it up with the spoon, push the food out with the fork, and eat from the spoon. The fork is held with the left hand and the spoon with the right.
  • The coffee spoons are placed to the right of the plate or brought with the coffee.
  • Red wine is served in round and short stem glasses. They are caught by the base.
  • White wine is served in slightly smaller glasses and longer standing. They are caught by the base of the foot.
  • It is not recommended to serve a white wine after a red one since the stronger one “numbs” the palate and prevents you from tasting a good white wine.
  • To use the cups, start by using the one closest to you. For example sherry (soup dish), white wine (fish or chicken dish), red wine (meat dish) and glass of water.
  • The butter knife is used across the plate or to the right in the row of knives.
  • Bottles with soft drinks should not be served at a formal meal.
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The tablecloths should not hang over the sides of the table, the measurement is about 30 or 40 cm. from the edge of the table.

The following diagram shows the layout of a table:

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  • Soup: It is placed on the table already served. It should not be tilted to take the last drop nor is it blown or stirred. The spoon is taken from front to back so that the liquid does not spill and is taken on the tip or with the edge of the spoon.
  • Pan: It is broken by hand into small pieces as it is eaten.
  • Butter: It is served in individual plates and a special knife.
  • Crab or Lobster: If they are not presented with an instrument to eat them, they are held by the shell with the left hand and the legs are torn off with the right. The finest legs are broken and their content is extracted with the help of a special fork. The tail comes off with a careful tug.
  • Rice: With a fork like any other soft food. The dessert of rice in dulce de leche can be eaten with a spoon.
  • Spaguetti: They can be split with a fork.
  • Potato: They are not cut with a knife. If they are presented unpeeled, they are held with a fork and split like a fruit.
  • Vegetables: They are eaten with a fork, they are not cut with the knife. In the case of asparagus as a starter, they can be eaten by hand.
  • Fish: With fork and a special knife. Canned like sardines helped by a piece of bread.
  • Meat: It is never cut on the plate all at once but into small pieces as it is eaten. Soft meats are split with a fork.
  • Birds: The correct thing to do is eat them using a fork and knife.
  • Olives: With the hand if it is an aperitif but with a fork if it is part of a plate.
  • Cakes: Container.
  • Jam: First to our plate and then to the toast or bread roll.
  • Salad: If it is made of leaves, it is served already split and no knife is used.
  • Fruit: They are cut with the knife and eaten with the fork. In the case of oranges and grapefruits, they are cut in half and eaten with the help of a teaspoon. They are also completely peeled with the help of a knife and a fork and the segments are placed in the mouth with a fork.
      • If they are apples, they are held with the fork and the part with the stem is removed with the knife. The same is done with the opposite section and then divided into quarters. In the case of melons, the pulp is separated from the skin with the knife and then vertical cuts are made to form small portions. The pulp can be eaten with a teaspoon while the melon is held by the rind with the left hand.
      • When it comes to bananas, the two ends are cut first. The peel is opened and the pulp is removed and cut into pieces as it is eaten.
  • Wines: White wine is served cold and is used for white meats at a temperature of 6 to 8 degrees. In the case of red wine, it is served at room temperature for red meats, rosé wine is served cold for any type of meat depending on taste.
        • To determine that it is a good wine, when the waiter brings the cork to him on a small plate, it is placed on the palm of the hand and if bubbles are produced or it moistens the hand, it means that it is good. quality.
  • Cognac and Creams: They are taken after coffee at room temperature. The cognac is heated by hand to increase its aroma. It is not offered with this type of liquor.
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I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
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