Most Important Basic Table Manners

From a family of restaurant owners, my parents always instilled in us the importance of having excellent table manners. Not just because we owned restaurants and were in the public eye, but because table manners is an important value to instill in all family members.

The 10 most important basic table manners that people can have are:
1.) Chew with your mouth closed
2.) Do not talk with your mouth full
3.) Always use your napkin
4.) Do not lick your fingers
5.) Do not pick off someone else’s plate
6.) Do not reach over someone else
7.) Always say “please” and “thank you”
8.) Do not burp loudly and draw undue negative attention
9.) Thank the hostess for an excellent meal
10.) Don’t eat the last of something without asking if someone else wants it first

There is nothing more disgusting than someone chewing with their mouth open; nobody wants to see what you are chomping on and if your mouth is open, then chances are you are chewing loudly. This is a no-no. In addition, if your mouth is full and someone is asking you a question, swallow your food and then respond. Your napkin should always be on your lap if you are female and either at your neckline or at your place setting if you are male.

One of the most terrible habits some people have is licking their fingers. I know that barbecue sauce tastes delectable, however, if you are eating something that is a bit messy, the napkin is your resource. From a restaurant server’s point of view, if you are licking your fingers and do not wash your hands before you see a friend enter the restaurant, and go to shake his/her hand, you are passing germs onto that person.

If the person next to you offers something from their plate, either use your fork to push the food to your own plate or have that person do it for you. Picking off of someone else’s plate looks bad. In addition, if there are veggies or other items on the table, served countrystyle, ask someone near those items to pass them to you.

“Please” and “thank you” are those words that parents should teach children from an early age. If you have never been taught these words, it is sad. Thanking the hostess and/or server for their hospitality and meal is common courtesy.

While burping loudly in some cultures is acceptable, please remember it is not acceptable in all cultures. It can be a way to draw attention, and for children, sometimes, they find it humorous. It is not humorous in adults.

Finally, if there is a last, lonely item of food left on a platter, it is common courtesy to ask if others at the table would like it first before taking it. In most cases, people will abstain and it is yours.

These are just tips from a restauranteer’s point of view.

1. Top Ten Table Manners – The Emily Post Institute, Inc.
2. 13 Basic Table Manners – Advice with Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee

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