Dining Etiquettes and Formalities


Table manners play an important part in making a favorable impression.

The way we behave when we are dining is very important in today’s society, it reflects how people perceive us in a social manner and on our etiquette. Well, it will be a little fancy when you are going to a fine dining place which manners on a table is crucial like you are an actor performing on a stage. If it goes well people will accept and if it isn’t they will lose interest in you. Moreover, learning about formal table setting will become handy to you when you dine in that type of restaurant. Let’s improve your confidence during a dining course with knowing the basic, the setting on the table.

Formal Table Setting

Have you ever wonder why there are so many dishes, forks, knives, and glasses set up on the table when you go to wine restaurant? That is because each of them have their serve for different purposes and the figure below shows the set-up of traditional formal table arrangement.
  1. Service Plate : Always place it at the center of a table.

  2. Bread Plate : Place on the upper left of the service plate.

  3. Dessert Spoon and Fork : Place above the service plate.

  4. Forks : Normally arrange by usage order, the first one to be used is placed from left to right (dinner fork, fish fork, and salad fork), and all of them are placed on the left side of the service plate.

  5. Knives : Normally arrange by usage order, the first one to be used is placed from right to left (dinner knife, fish knife and salad knife), and all of them are placed on the right side of the service plate.

  6. Teaspoon and Soup Spoon : Place next to the knives and arrange by their usages.

  7. Glasses : Place on the upper right of the service plate. There are usually five glasses during the formal dining course in which arrange by their usages from right to left(campaign glass, red wine glass, white wine glass and water glass).

  8. Coffee Cup and Saucer : Place on the right-hand side of the table and above of the knives and teaspoon.

  9. Napkins : Place on the very far left of the table next to the forks.

  10. Salt and Pepper: Place on the upper left of the bread plate.

Now that we know how to properly set up a table, our next step is “Do’s and Don’ts” when you are dining with style.

The 10 Do’s!

  1. So many spoons and knives! which one should I use first? : In a restaurant that serves multiple courses, it is not really a surprise if you will be confused, a very easy trick is to just use them from outside-in.

  2. How to deal with a napkin? As soon as you are seated, unfold and place a napkin on your lap till the end of the meal. When you finish the meal, always leave the napkin semi-folded at the left side of the place setting.

  3. Everybody’s here. Can I start it now? Hold on! You should wait until all are served at your table before eat and never be the first one who starts a meal unless you are a host/hostess.

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  5. Keep going smoothly if you want to take a sip of water or wine while you eat, quietly place your knife and fork on your plate, and carefully drink without making a mess.

  6. Close your mouth when you eat Eating your food with a mouth shut is an international table manner. This is because when you eat with your mouth open, it will create an unpleasant to others.

  7. What should I when I drop a food? Don’t panic, when your food is fallen or wine spilled. Just use your napkin deal with them. And let the waiter know if you want a new one.

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  9. When you finish your meal, Place your knife and fork on service plate pointing upward anywhere between 11 and 12 ‘o clock.

  10. Have a piece of food in between my teeth! Picking your teeth during a meal is considering extremely rude, so If you ever get one, politely leave the table and clean it in the restroom.

  11. Eat slowly and be attentive on how fast others eat. This is to make sure the next course is continually served.

  12. Proper tipping : At a restaurant, always leave a tip. Tips can vary from 15% to 25% of total billing depends on the person who will get the tips.

The 10 Don’ts

  1. Don’t let your phone ring during the dining course. Put your phone on mute while dining to prevent disturbing other people.

  2. Don’t talk while you are eating, because not only it makes you hard to speak, your food will also likely be falling from your mouth without you realizing it.

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  4. Don’t put your elbow on the table. Most people think it isn’t polite when you bring the elbows on a table. However, it is sometimes, acceptable when everything is cleared. So, keep in mind that sometime it’s not appropriate, so it’s better that you are doing it.

  5. Don't drink while you are chewing and always wipe your mouth when you are not eating or before drinking. This is to prevent leaving food on glasses.

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  7. Don’t do your make up on table. It should be done in toilet or powder room

  8. Don’t leave your spoon in soup cup when you finish but place it on soup plate to tell that you’re finished.

  9. Don’t eat a food from other’s plate or let other eat from your plate. If you would like to give some of your food to others, carefully cut your food into an edible size and put them on a small plate.

  10. Don’t push your plate off when you are finished. If you are done, quietly put your knife and fork pointing upward and wait for a waiter to take it off.

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  12. Don’t blow your soup, coffee or tea. It sends the signal that you’re impatient. Allow your food to cool on its own and you’ll earn the reputation of one cool tablemate.

  13. Don’t pick, scratch, belch or fart during a meal. However, coughing or sneezing is unavoidable, in that case, quickly turn away from a table and use your napkin.

That’s all for the “Do’s & Don’ts”. The easy way to keep yourself from doing embarrassing actions during a meal, these are just little tips we’ve brought to you. If you would like to know more about how to dine and wine like ‘How to order wine from Sommelier?’, Wine calculation? or How to choose wine? Click here!

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