Most people don't eat out at fine dining restaurants every day, so when the situation does arise, you might feel unsure of what etiquette rules you should be following. You would not want to make yourself look silly or rude by failing to follow fine dining conventions -- but if you're not aware of the rules, you could slip up and not even know it! Thankfully, the rules are pretty simple once you get to know them.
1. Start with the outside fork.
You probably remember the movie Titanic, in which Leonardo DiCaprio's character stares at a lineup of forks, unsure of which one to eat with. To avoid looking as stunned and confused as Leo, start with the outside fork and work your way in as the courses progress. In other words, if the first item brought to the table is salad, eat the salad with the outside fork. If the next course is meat, eat that with the fork second from the outside, and so forth.
2. Put your napkin on your lap.
It's conventional to take the napkin off your plate and put it on your lap as soon as you sit down. Do not wait until the first course is served. You don't want to appear distracted while fumbling for your napkin. If you leave the table during the meal, place the napkin neatly over the back of your chair.
3. Match the dining speed of your dining companions.
If everyone you are eating with is chatting and slowly eating, keep pace with them rather than eating all of your food at once. It is considered polite, both to your dining companions and to the servers, for everyone to eat at roughly the same pace. On a similar note, try to order the same number of courses as everyone else at the table. For instance, if everyone else orders an appetizer, order one too -- even if it is something small -- so you're not left staring into space as the others dine.
4. Pay with one credit card.
You may split the bill between three cards at a bar, but this is considered impolite when the bill comes at a fine dining restaurant. Instead, pay with one card. If you want to split the bill, have everyone else give cash to the person who pays with their card, or use an app like Venmo to pay them back.
Fine dining etiquette is not complicated, and it helps to know what to expect. Contact a restaurant, like Tavern at the Sun Inn, to plan your night out.
After I inherited my father's restaurant, I knew I needed to change a few things. The menu was outdated, the clientele was bored with the offerings, and the dining room was absolutely ancient. Fortunately, I knew what to do to infuse a new sense of style into the place. I started changing things right away, and within a few days, customers were complimenting my efforts. Our profits started to skyrocket, and it was incredible to see our bottom line start to grow. This blog is about improving your restaurant for the better so that you don't have to worry.