Advice for Students

Dining Etiquette: Top Ten Tips for Business Success

October 22, 2012  |     |   0 Comment

Understanding and possessing proper dining skills is vital in today’s business world. Many important business meetings take place outside of the office and conducted at a restaurant over a meal. People equate poor dining manners with poor business practices.  Good table manners allow you to concentrate on the important task of any business meal – and that is to participate.

Next time you attend a business event that takes place over a meal, apply the following ten “do’s and don’ts” to ensure you leave a positive first impression and create an opportunity to build business relationships.


  • Avoid talking with your mouth full. Take small bites as you will find it is easier to answer questions or join in table talk.
  • Wait until you have swallowed the food in your mouth before you take a sip of your beverage; however, if the food is too hot, take a quick sip.
  • Understand the table setting. Your bread plate is to the left of your dinner plate and your water glass to the right. Use your utensils from the outside in.
  • Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down. If you leave for a few moments during the meal, place your napkin on your chair. When you leave at the end of the meal, leave your napkin to the left of your dinner plate.
  • Do leave your plate whee it is when you have finished eating, with the knife and fork in the 10:20 “I am finished” position. Place the tips of the utensils at 10 and the handles at 4.
  • Do look into, not over, the cup or glass when drinking.
  • Never butter a whole piece of bread. Take some butter and place it on your bread plate. Use the butter knife if one is available. Break a bite-sized piece off your bread and hold it on the corner of the bread plate while you butter.
  • Soup bowls should be tilted away from you and the soup spoon pushed from the front to back to catch a mouthful. Tip the soup into your mouth from the side of the spoon; don’t try eating with your spoon at 90 degrees to your mouth.
  • Do remember your posture at the table.  Sit up straight, and keep your arms (including elbows) off the table.
  • Do leave dropped silverware on the floor. Quietly signal the waitstaff to bring another piece.


  • Never start eating before a signal from the host to do so.
  • When eating, don’t overload your fork
  • Don’t mop your face with your napkin.
  • Don’t spread your elbows when cutting food. Keep them close to your sides when eating.
  • Don’t chew with your mouth open.
  • Don’t smack your lips or make loud eating noises such as slurping.
  • Don’t reach across the table or across another person to get something.  If it is out of reach, ask the closest person to pass it to you.
  • Don’t pick your teeth at the table, either with a toothpick or with your fingers. If something gets caught in your teeth, excuse yourself and take care of the problem in the privacy of the restroom.
  • Don’t push your plate away from you when you have finished eating.
  • Don’t gesture with your fork, knife or spoon in your hand. If you are not using the utensil, put it down.


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