restaurant etiquette for guests

Restaurant Etiquette For Guests: 12 Good Manners

who this class is for

Restaurant guests, waiters and restaurant staff

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About this micro-class

Restaurant etiquette for guests is important to ensure a pleasant dining experience for both guests and the restaurant staff.

1. Reserving a table

Book in Advance: Make a reservation in advance whenever possible, especially if the restaurant is popular or busy. This helps the restaurant plan its seating arrangements.

Confirm or Cancel: If you’ve made a reservation but can’t make it, you should cancel or reschedule in a timely manner. This courtesy allows the restaurant to offer the table to someone else.

2. Dress code

Dress Code: Adhere to the restaurant’s dress code if one is specified. Dress appropriately for the type of dining establishment you’re visiting.

3. Arriving at the restaurant

Punctuality: Arrive on time for your reservation. If you’re running late, call the restaurant to inform them.

Checking In: When you arrive, check in with the host or hostess and provide your reservation details. Wait patiently if there’s a short delay in seating you. Stay in the designated waiting area rather than hovering near the entrance or the bar.

Seating: Wait for the host or hostess to seat you. Don’t move to another table without their permission.

4. Pets

Pets: With the exception of service animals, do not bring pets into the restaurant unless it is a pet-friendly establishment.

5. Children

Children: If dining with children, ensure they are well-behaved and considerate of other diners. Use high chairs or booster seats as needed.

6. Ordering

Be Ready: Review the menu in a timely manner and be prepared to order when the server comes to your table.

Special Requests: Communicate any dietary restrictions or allergies clearly when ordering. Also, inform the server of any specific preferences or modifications to the dishes.

Sharing: If you plan to share dishes, communicate this with your server to ensure proper service and portioning.

7. During the meal

Table Manners: Practice good table manners, such as using utensils appropriately, not talking with your mouth full, and keeping your elbows off the table.

Cell Phones: Keep your phone on silent and refrain from taking calls or texting at the table. It’s also considered polite to avoid using your phone for extended periods during the meal.

Volume: Keep your voice at a moderate level to maintain a pleasant dining atmosphere. Avoid shouting or creating excessive noise.

Respect Personal Space: Respect the personal space and privacy of other diners. Avoid eavesdropping on their conversations.

8. Interactions with the staff

Politeness: Treat the restaurant staff with respect and politeness. Use “please” and “thank you” when appropriate.

Complaints: If you have an issue with the food or service, address it politely with the server or manager rather than making a scene.

9. Paying the bill

Payment Method: When the meal is finished and you’re ready to pay, place your payment method (credit card, cash) in the bill holder or follow the restaurant’s payment procedure.

Splitting the Bill: If you’re splitting the bill with others, inform the server beforehand, and decide on the splitting arrangement in advance.

10. Tipping

Gratuity: In many countries, it’s customary to leave a gratuity, also known as a tip, for the server. The standard tip is often 15-20% of the total bill before tax, but this can vary by location and the level of service.

Check the Bill: Check your bill carefully to see if a service charge has already been included. If not, calculate the tip accordingly.

11. Leaving the restaurant

Thanking the Staff: As you leave, thank the staff for their service. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in showing appreciation.Saying Goodbye: Thank the server and staff again as you leave. Show appreciation for the dining experience.

Coat Check: If the restaurant has a coat check, don’t forget to retrieve your belongings.

Takeout Containers: Ask your server if it’s acceptable to take leftover food home. Some high-end restaurants may discourage this practice.

12. Online reviews

Feedback: If you wish to provide feedback or compliments to the chef or staff, do so discreetly and after the meal.

Online Reviews: If you plan to leave an online review, provide constructive feedback and be fair in your assessment. Avoid airing grievances publicly without giving the restaurant a chance to address them.

Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

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