Everyone likes the opportunity to go out for a meal, enjoying new flavors, socializing and meeting new people. It is said today that more businesses are being conducted over a meal in restaurants than in offices. Whether it is at breakfast, lunch, tea, cocktails or dinner client relationships are being strengthened. Interestingly it has now become common place for prospective employees to also being evaluated over a meal not to mention current employees in line for promotion.
I still marvel at the number of times I have been out for a meal or at a social function and I see many eating and enjoying their food without having touched their napkin. Many times people instantly disregard the knife and settle with the use of the fork as a comfortable substitute for both the cutting and eating throughout the meal, as the only tool for eating. At times the fork is wielded like a construction tool grabbed in the fist and used as to shovel food into the mouth. On numerous occasions people are still comfortable talking with a mouth full of food almost spitting at others in conversation.
How awkward do you make people feel when you are dining with them? Can we hear every chew, slurp or sip?
How well will you rate your dining skills? I don’t mean your ability to eat fast but your entire conduct before, during and after the meal. Many would say that they could not be bothered about how they dine so long as they are enjoying the meal on hand.
Are you dining like a VIP or are you sabotaging your personal image?
Etiquette Strategies to Dine Like a VIP
Boost your confidence as you read my dining savvy guidelines:
- Your dining experience starts from your invitation. Be very precise and specific about the occasion, the date, venue a dress code if necessary. Follow up on your invite for confirmations of attendance.
- If you decide to use a restaurant let it be clear who is paying the bill. Your invite whether written or verbal should state “ Be my guest”
- When inviting your guest to a restaurant try to pre book in advance. Choose your seating where you believe your guest will like and appreciate. Choose a restaurant or place where the ambience is conducive.
Arrive 15 minutes earlier if you intend dining at a pre booked restaurant. Start with pre cocktail drinks to set the tone going and increase the ambience.
- These days a menu is provided at social functions, check the menu in advance to have an idea of the kind of food being served before making your final choice.
- Watch out for any reaction to allergies, or religious commitments.
- Recognize you are in a public place so your body language and seating position should command respect. Watch the space between the table and your chair before you start eating
h.Your napkin serves a major dining purpose pick up immediately you sit at the table and use during your meal
- Know the tools of table and how to navigate them; use the appropriate cutlery for the correct course.
- Be careful not to gesture with cutlery in your hand.
- Identify your glass and bread plate if placed as part of the table setting. Try not to take your neighbours fork or glass especially if your meal comes first.
- Remember knives and spoons on the right and forks always on the left.
- Depending on the size of the occasion and the venue you may have the opportunity to go to buffet table a self – serve. Be careful not to over pile your plate with unwanted items which will eventually be wasted.
- Remember you see no one but everyone see you be diplomatic and wise as your plate says a lot about you. Don’t be shy to visit the buffet again and again that is why it is designed for you to be selective each time.
- The buffet spread is available for you for you to systematically try out as many dishes as you please. Try not to mix and match starters, with the main meal or desert.
p.Enjoy the full course meal on offer from the appetizer, to the salad or soup, the entree meal, desert and the coffee.
q.Engage in appropriate conversation during the course of the meal. The dining experience should not just be to wine, dine and leave. Choose from topics that inspire rapport, exchange facts and information, share knowledge, generate humour and build friendships.
- Avoid the use of mobile phones newspapers or magazines at the dining table even when you know you will have to wait a bit for the food to arrive. Engage in good conversation.
- Eat systematically keeping your plate looking fresh. Avoid eating from the center of the plate where food is almost spilling over the plate.
- No Slurping, Belching, Burping at the table
- No Elbows at the table.
For health reasons watch the intake of your food, avoid over eating and be sensible with your drinking.
How do you toast by raising your glass or clinking it? (Food for thought).
Remember dining is like dancing take it one step at a time. Be charming gentleman and an elegant lady as you dine like a VIP.
All the Best!!