First Time Diners

By: Caroline Johnson

What to do when you are immediately seated!

-Wait for the host or hostess to take his or her napkin off the table and place it in his or her lap before you place your napkin in your lap.


-Unfold your napkin in one smooth motion without "snapping" or "shaking" it open.


-Wipe your fingers as necessary. Also use a small area of the napkin to blot your lips fairly often.

What is "a la carte"?

Listing or serving food that can be ordered as separate items, rather than part of a set meal.

What is "a la mode"?

A meal that is served with ice cream.

How do you get a waiters attention?

1. Raise your hand, but don't wave.

2. Talk to your waiter with respect.

3. Make eye contact with the waiter.

4. Try to always remain polite.

What is gratuity and how should you figure is on a bill?

Gratuity is a tip given to a waiter. You should take 20% of the bill and use that as the tip.

What should you do when you finish each course?

Visualize a clock face on your plate. Place both the knife and fork in about the 10:20 position with the points at 10 and the handles at 20. The prongs of the fork should be down, and the blade of the knife should face you. If you have been eating the course with the fork only, place it prongs up in the same position as the knife when finished. Placing flatware in the finished position facilitates the server clearing from the right.

5 helpful hints while dining out!!

1. Before the meal, shake hands with anyone already sitting at the table. If necessary, introduce yourself.

2. Follow your host’s lead.

3. Drink from your own water glass and don’t make the mistake of taking from your colleague or client’s bread plate.

4. Try a little of everything on your plate unless you have a food allergy.

5. Cut only enough food for the next mouthful.