Restaurant Etiquette: How to Eat Out Comfortably Without Embarrassing Yourself

Did you know that the average Canadian eats out an average of four times per week? This means that, as a nation, we are dining out between four and five times a week. This number translates to about 18 meals in an average month eaten outside your home. Although eating out has become more casual, it doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you like wherever you like.

Table manners are still important in both professional and social settings, and it is always a good idea to know what is expected of you while dining out. For instance, it is unacceptable to fill the dining table with your elbows or interfere with other people’s dining experience by displaying unacceptable etiquette while eating out in a bring your own wine restaurant. Here are some of the etiquette rules for dining out at restaurants that you need to know.

Make Sure You Can Afford It

Let us start with the most basic things. Before you enter any restaurant, make sure that you can afford it. Although it might sound obvious, some people will walk into a fancy restaurant that they are pretty sure that they can’t afford, proceed to order expensive meals only to cause drama when the waiter demands payment.

If you enter any restaurant and you notice that the food prices at that restaurant don’t fall within your range, don’t be ashamed to walk out. Alternatively, make sure that you look at the restaurant’s menu available online or request the customer care staff to email you the menu in advance. It doesn’t hurt to eat out at a cheaper place but pay your bill without causing drama.

Don’t Put Your Cell Phone, Purse, or Keys on the Table

Some of us have developed the habit of putting everything that we have on the table once we enter a restaurant, but that is wrong. Crowding the table with your purse, smartphone, or keys distracts your other dining companions and even waiters.

When you enter into a bring your own wine restaurant, scan through the sitting area and identify a place where you can sit comfortably with your purse on your laps or beside you on the floor. Leave your phone inside your purse or pocket and don’t take it out to text. If you spend time texting, this sends out a message to your company that whoever you are texting is more important to you than they are.

Wait for Everyone to Be Served Before You Start Eating

If by chance your food arrives first on the table, don’t start eating it while the other people look at you. Be patient, and you should only start eating when everyone else starts eating. If you have to send the waiter to get you something, which is acceptable or you feel like the food hasn’t been cooked properly, make sure that you tell the other people to continue eating without you.


Dealing with Waiters

If you have gone through the menu and you are ready to order, shut the menu and put it down. The waiter can see from a distance that you are no longer interested in the menu and you are ready to order. Never shout at the waiter or waitress. Your words with them should be requests and not commands.

Keep in mind that these people are on their feet all day or night serving customers while your work is to sit down and enjoy your meal. It doesn’t hurt to have some empathy. If you have to send food back, you need to remember the fact that it is not the waiter who prepared it. Give a reason why you can’t eat the food and allow the restaurant management to address the issue.