How To Practice Dining Etiquette

  1. When extending the invitation...
    • Always use the phrase "I would like you to be my guest" when extending the invitation orally or in writing.
    • Never say "how about joining me for lunch?"or "let's do lunch."
    • Remember the host always chooses the restaurant, not the guest.

  2. Confirming details.
    • Always confirm details in writing, either by regular mail, e-mail, or fax.
    • Never assume a person will remember the appointment from memory.
    • Remember to call a day ahead of time to confirm the appointment.

  3. Arriving at the restaurant.
    • Always arrive at the restaurant about 5 to 10 minutes early, ahead of your guest
    • Never wait in the lobby or bar
    • Remember to give the names of your guest(s) to the maitre 'd 

  4. Seating arrangements.
    • Always give the seat of honor to your guest.
    • Never have your guest's back to the center of the dining room.
    • Remember to sit across from the most important person. 

  5. Ordering drinks.          
    • Always offer your guests the full range of choices. 
    • Never feel pressured to order an alcoholic beverage when others do.
    • Remember: It is rare alcohol is consumed at lunch.

  6. Ordering food.
    • Always show authority when ordering. 
    • Never order more courses than the others.
    • Remember to encourage guests to enjoy more than a main course.

  7. Dining conversations.
    • Always move discussions along, without allowing anyone to dominate the conversation.
    • Never allow discussions to get too personal or too deep.
    • Remember: Keep discussions general, focused on building rapport and getting better acquainted.

  8. Thank you note.
    • Always handwrite a thank-you note and send it by regular mail. 
    • Never think it is too late to send a note of appreciation.
    • Remember for the best impact, send your note within 24 to 48 hours.

Bonus: Give the maitre'd or waiter your credit card when you are being seated, before your guest(s) arrive.  Instruct the waiter to add 18% gratuity to the subtotaled bill, before tax, and total it for your signature.  This way when the bill arrives there will be no confusion as to who is paying, plus the waiter will know s/he is getting more than the average tip and hopefully will give you more attentive service.  

Happy Practicing!



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