DINING OUT: ETIQUETTE AT THE RESTAURANT
Dining out is always a good idea. In addition to being in the company of friends and family, it is the opportunity to taste new flavors, different seasonings and the best, without having to worry about the dishes after. However, although the occasion be relaxed, doesn't mean that we can be totally at ease, as if we were at home.
When it comes to behave properly in public places, the most important thing is to take care to enjoy the moment without disturbing the other people who are there doing the same. It is important to pay attention to your individual attitudes do not violate the limits of collective well-being.
Reserve a table before you leave for the restaurant. This enables you to give special seating preferences such as a table in the garden or one in a quiet corner. You can ask about the dress code. You may want to reconfirm the reservation one or two days before the dinner has been planned.
Ask your guests if they like or dislike certain ethnic foods (simply ask when extending the invitation). You could also give the guest a choice of two or three restaurants. If you're hosting a group, pick a restaurant with a wide range of foods so that everyone present will find something to his taste.
GIVE ATTENTION TO THE SERVER
When the server arrives, give him or her your full attention.
Turn off your cell phone and don’t start talking when a server is standing at your table.
When an uncut loaf of bread is placed on the table, the host should cut or break one or two slices and offer the breadbasket to people on either side. After that, the basket should be passed around the table so each person can cut or break his or her own serving of bread.
If your children are dining with you, make sure they know how to behave in a restaurant. Not only does bad behavior make your experience miserable, you are disrupting other people’s meals. Teach your children how to be courteous and respectful of others before you take them to a restaurant.
Consider the type of restaurant before bringing your children. Most family restaurants can accommodate toddlers. However, it’s best to leave a small child with a sitter when you go to a five-star restaurant.
Unless you have a good reason, don’t request a different table.
Most restaurants have table stations for servers, and managers generally like to keep a balance so no one is overworked. However, if you have a valid reason, such as blinding sun rays coming through the window or handicapped needs, most restaurant staff will be happy to accommodate you.
REQUESTING A BOX FOR LEFTOVERS
If you cannot finish your meal, it is acceptable to request a container for the remainder of your food. Most restaurants are able to accommodate this request, and many of them will transfer the food to a to-go box or bag for you.
COMPLAINING ABOUT FOOD OR SERVICE
Course you have the right to complain in a restaurant, but, please, do it in a polite and respectful way.
Complaints about the food should initially be made to the server, but always do so in a quiet voice. Most servers will gladly have the kitchen staff cook your meat longer if it is undercooked. If you find a hair or insect in your food, don’t eat it. Let the server know and give him or her an opportunity to rectify the situation. If you aren’t satisfied, speak to the headwaiter or manager.
Keep in mind that the server may not be at fault, even if the problem is slow service. The order could have been backed up in the kitchen, or something else may be happening that you aren’t aware of. Give the server the benefit of the doubt and allow time to fix the problem. If you are unsatisfied at the end of the meal, even after you have discussed the issue, you may decrease the amount of the tip.
PAYING THE BILL
When you finish your meal, you may request your check. Many servers prefer that to dropping it on the table because some customers consider it rude. Let the server know when you are finished with your meal. If the bill is in a leather folder, let a corner of your credit card or paper money peek out of the side so the server is aware you are ready to pay.
Don’t argue over the bill in front of the server or expect the restaurant staff to choose who pays. It’s embarrassing and puts him or her in an awkward position. Decide in advance who will pay and save everyone the embarrassment of commotion after you are finished dining.
AFTER THE MEAL
If you see that the restaurant is busy, don’t stay too long after everyone in your group is finished eating. While it is okay to stick around five or ten minutes afterward, a half hour or more creates a problem for people who are waiting to be seated. Follow the Golden Rule and put yourself in their place.