Dining out? What restaurant behaviors make you cringe? 

social skills, dining etiquette, workplace civilityMore and more people are going out to eat. Restauranteurs and their staff couldn’t be happier.

Since being quarantined for almost two years, many of us have become comfortable, perhaps too comfortable with our appearance, communication skills, and may have developed a few unappealing habits.

For two years, we either ate alone or with the same group of people. For two years, dinner conversation was limited. For two years, we didn’t have to dress up, or shower on a regular basis. For two years, bosses and coworkers entered each other’s personal world, on occasion seeing things they wish they hadn’t.

Some would say that we’ve forgotten how to separate or modify our behavior depending on the current situation or environment.

This could be a good time to evaluate or be mindful of whether we’ve allowed our manners to deteriorate.

I’ve listed some of the most common dining habits that can be off-putting to those around you:

1. Snapping your fingers for the server’s attention. This is considered patronizing and rude. Make eye contact. A trained server will understand.

2. Keeping the server waiting to take your order because you’re on your phone. It’s rude and disrespectful of their time. Yes, they are there to make your experience pleasant, but you aren’t the only guest.

3. Asking your server to hook you up with “extras.” Now and then, they have the discretion to make those decisions. Do not get upset with them, when they can’t accommodate your request for “extras.” And definitely, don’t let it reflect on their tip.

4. Talking with a huge mouthful. First, you run the risk of spitting. Secondly, the person across from you has to see the partially chewed up food. Yuck.

5. Blowing your nose using the cloth dinner napkin. Unless it’s a sudden nose bleed, excuse yourself to the restroom and take care of business.

6. Licking your fingers. Then, handing someone a bread roll with the same licked fingers. Gross.

7. Picking your teeth at the table. If you can’t discreetly dislodge it with your tongue, excuse yourself to the restroom and handle it.

8. Letting your children run over to other tables. Yes, your children are darling, but not everyone wants to hang out with them.

9. Loosening the leash, permitting your pet run over to other tables. Yes, your pet is cute, but not everyone appreciates the distraction. Additionally, a long leash across an aisle, is an accident waiting to happen.

10. Ordering a small meal, then mooching off of everyone else’s plate.

11. Being so loud that it becomes distracting to the tables around you. No one is saying that you can’t have a good time. But when you’re in a shared space, your good time may infringe on someone else’s good time. Courtesy and consideration of others is necessary for a pleasant experience all around.

Final thoughts: Select an appropriate restaurant for your group or occasion. If you know your group tends to be boisterous, select a restaurant that has a casual and fun atmosphere. If you plan on having a heart-to-heart talk, select accordingly. Ask to be seated in a corner.

If your group got a little boisterous, turn to those around you, smile, and politely apologize. “Sorry we got so loud, we’re celebrating a promotion.” This simple act can eliminate complaints.

Etiquette Expert, Author, Media Source  | Actor

Serving as an expert source for media. Imparting advice to businesses, private sessions, and the film industry. Available to hold virtual or in-person session to prepare individuals/groups for job interviews, dining out, improving communication skills as we return to the workplace.

Film industry:  Fine-tune actors’ etiquette skills for roles.



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