Business Dining Etiquette

Pre-Dinner Etiquette

  • Arrive on time
  • Call ahead if you know you will be late
  • Wait 15 minutes before calling to check on the arrival status of your dinner partners.

  • Do not place any bags, purses, sunglasses, cell phones, or briefcases on the table
  • When you are all seated, gently unfold your napkin and place it on your lap, folded in half with the fold towards your waist
  • Keep utensils in the same order they appear on the table
  • Do not rearrange to accommodate yourself if you are left-handed
  • Wait for all parties to arrive before beginning any part of the meal

Place Setting
  • Solids on your left:
1) Forks

2) Butter plate

3) Napkin

  • Liquids on your right:
1) Glasses/Cups

2) Knives

3) Spoons Whether basic or formal place setting, use your utensils from the outside in Dessert utensils may be above the place setting or served with dessert.

Eating Styles

  • Continental or European style: cutting the food with the right hand and using the left hand to hold the food while cutting and when eating.
  • American style: cutting the food with the right hand and holding the food with the left, then switching hands to eat with the right hand.

  • When in doubt, follow the lead of the host
  • Don’t order the most expensive item
  • Order simply
  • Avoid finger foods or difficult foods that are difficult to eat In general, don’t order alcohol at a business meal.

Do's and Don'ts
  • While Eating

1)Wait for everyone to get their meal before starting yours

2) Don’t talk with your mouth full

3) Don’t chomp ice

4) Take small bites

5) Cut your salad into bite size pieces if necessary

6) Try to pace yourself to finish at the same time as everyone else

7) If you leave the table, excuse yourself and place your napkin on your seat

8) When you are finished eating, place your napkin neatly to the left of your plate, but do not push your place setting away from you

  • Napkins
1) Use your napkin frequently

2) Do not use your napkin as a tissue
3) If you have to sneeze, turn your head away from the table.

Helpful Hints

  • Break your bread/rolls and butter each piece individually
  • Gently stir your soup to cool it instead of blowing on it
  • Spoon your soup away from you
  • If something undesirable is in your mouth, discreetly remove it with your fork
  • If you have any problems with the meal, quietly bring it to the waiter’s attention.
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