Silverware will be arranged precisely in the right order that it is to be used for the meal. General rule -start with outer utensils and work your way toward the service plate.
*Tip…..The word “ left ” has four letters, so does the word fork. The word “ right ” has five letters, so do the words knife & spoon. This is a great way to remember that the fork is on your left and the knife & spoon are on your right.
The napkin should remain in your lap throughout the meal. If you leave the table for any reason during the meal, place the napkin on the seat of your chair. At the end of the meal, leave the napkin to the left of your plate. It need not be refolded, but should be neat.
If you spill anything, use your napkin to mop up the spill. If the spill is large or very messy seek the assistance of you host.
At a formal restaurant or banquet, food should be presented to guests in the following order : guest of honor, female guests, male guests, hostess, host . After the guest of honor, first the women, then the men, are served in one of two ways :
( 1 ) dishes can be presented to guests in the order of their seating, starting at the host's right;
( 2 ) dishes may be presented in order of seniority, starting with the most influential and proceeding down to the least prominent guest .
Clearly, using the latter system requires the hosts to furnish information regarding the order of service ahead of time . In restaurants, most groups include neither guest of honor nor hosts, so the meals will simply be served first to the women, then to the men .
In general, the diner is approached from the left for three purposes :
( 1 ) to present platters of food ( from which the waiter will serve or the diner will help herself ) ;
( 2 ) to place side dishes such as vegetables or dinner rolls;
( 3 ) to clear the side dishes that were placed from the left . The reason most often given for this is most people are right handed . So, for example, when a waiter must use his right hand to serve from a platter, it is least intrusive if he stands to the left . This way, the platter can be held safely away from the guest as the waiter leans forward ( slightly ) to reach her plate . And, in the case of placing side dishes, it makes most sense to put them to the side which is less in focus, leaving the right side free for the main dish .
(1 ) These days it is nearly universal practice, even in very formal circumstances, for food to arrive already arranged on the plate ( rather than to be presented on a platter ). Preplated food ( except for side dishes ) , as well as empty plates and clean utensils brought in preparation for upcoming courses, are always placed from the guest's right side . At the end of the course, these plates are also cleared from the right . .
(2) Wine (and all beverages) are presented and poured from the right. This is a logical approach, since glassware is set above and to the right of the guest's plate, and trying to pour from the left would force the server to reach in front of the diner.
Just as the ideal of service is to present each course to the entire party at once, it is best to clear the plates at the same time, too . It has become common for waiters to remove plates as each guest finishes, in violation of this rule of serving etiquette, perhaps because it can be interpreted as extreme attentiveness on the part of the waiter . Nevertheless, the rule holds firm . The most elegant service facilitates the progress of a synchronized meal for the whole table .
The tradition of table etiquette in Western countries has evolved since the Middle
Ages in Europe. Writers have collected and published established customs but the customs
themselves have developed over time by common adoption. Etiquette differs greatly from culture to culture, and from occasion, time, and company. At its core, etiquette is based on being considerate of other people and ensuring pleasant social interactions.
In a seated-service, white tablecloth operation, dining etiquette plays a much more important role then in the casual drop-in operation. Preservice etiquette includes taking reservations, providing a coat check, and allowing for seating preference. Once the guests are seated, servers must ask guests for a drink order, and announce specials and their prices.
It is helpful when a server knows how one should eat a food and what proper manners are when eating. Servers must know how to help guests in various situations, including allergies, inedible foods, passing dishes, and when to eat. It is important for servers to know what is needed in service so people can enjoy eating in public without embarrassment.
Utensils are always given precise placement on the table. Up to twelve pieces of flatware may be set. For flatware and glassware, the general rule of outer to inner should be used. It also helps for the server to know which supplementary utensils are needed for each of the specific items. When a guest is finished eating, the knife and fork can be placed on one side of the plate, facing the same direction, or placed in the middle of the plate, the rim of the plate acting as a frame.
Some foods require special utensils, condiments, or sauces to be eaten correctly. At functions where there are no tables and quests stand to eat and drink small stands may be available for guests to place their beverages upon while eating. Napkins and small picks are often served with greasy foods, or foods that are hot, to make the foods easier to handle and to prevent soiling. If dips and sauces are served at parties, guests may dip the item only once. Y
Soups, vegetables, and seafood all require special methods or additional utensils when eating. Soups are served in either a bowl or a cup. The soup spoon is larger than other spoons and should be moved across the bowl away from the diner. Vegetables like corn on the cob can be held with both hands, or preferably with attached cob holders.
Seafood can be very tricky to eat properly. Some fish must be boned, while crustaceans must be removed from their shells. Lemon, drawn butter, and cocktail sauce are often served with fish and shellfish.
At the close of the meal, the appropriate tip should be left for the server, and should be based on the total bill before tax. A tip between 15 to 20 percent is traditional, and if necessary, should be split to suit the service. In high-scale operations, it is typical to tip the captain and possibly the maitre d’.