Everybody knows that rules of etiquette exist, but not everyone knows what exactly those rules are. Etiquette is a fairly broad term, including how to conduct oneself in public, how to treat people and manners. It is a part of a culture, it encompasses the rules and norms that determine how people should interact with others and in particular places.
Times change, and so does etiquette. What was mandatory a century ago might seem out of place today. What is etiquette used for and is it really important to abide by those rules? Since etiquette is not a set of mandatory rules, every person is free to decide where to abide by them or not. Nevertheless, following etiquette principles can make your life significantly easier.
- First of all, etiquette is a set of norms and rules that are known by plenty of people, which means that abiding by them will make it easier to get along with others.
- Secondly, knowing the norms of etiquette help to treat other people with respect in general and those whom you will deal with It is a well-known fact that the way you treat others affects how they treat you.
Therefore, etiquette is the ruleset of the game that people agree to play to make social life easier.
What does restaurant etiquette entail?
Restaurant etiquette stands out among many other rules due to its specific features:
- Clothes. According to these rules, it is a must to always dine in evening attire. However, if it is a cheap restaurant or a café, casual style is acceptable.
- Payment. If you invite a person to a restaurant, according to the rules of etiquette you take the responsibility of paying for the meals of people you have invited. If you have merely suggested visiting a restaurant, everyone is paying for themselves. Deciding who pays the tab is a must to avoid figuring it out in front of a waiter.
- At the table. A man only sits at the table after he helped his female companion take a seat by moving the chair, and sits opposite or to the left of her.
- Ordering dishes. According to restaurant etiquette, the woman chooses what to order first, but it’s acceptable if a man takes an order on her behalf. In case you find it difficult to choose the appropriate wine, ask the waiter.
- Serving dishes. Dishes are served to women first and men second.
- Dinner. If several people are sitting at the table, they may only start eating when all orders have been served.
- Conduct. According to the common code of conduct, talking and calling waiters loudly in a restaurant is unacceptable.
- Tipping. Tipping, a compliment to the waiter for serving your table, is a staple of restaurant etiquette. In some establishments, tips are included in the tab, as for the rest you should include +10% to the sum in the receipt.
Being polite and neat is the best way to express your gratitude to the chef, the waiter, and the establishment as a whole.