Restaurant Etiquette: Simple Things Worth Doing

Restaurant etiquette is an important part of dining out, whether you're a guest or an employee. It involves following certain guidelines and practices that promote a pleasant and respectful dining experience for everyone involved.

For guests, some basic restaurant etiquette practices include:

  • Making reservations: If you're planning to dine at a popular restaurant or during peak hours, it's important to make a reservation in advance. This not only ensures that you'll have a table but also helps the restaurant manage its seating arrangements and staffing.
  • Arriving on time: If you do make a reservation, it's important to arrive on time or notify the restaurant if you're running late. This helps the restaurant manage their reservations and ensures that your table is available when you arrive.
  • Dressing appropriately: Depending on the type of restaurant, there may be certain dress codes or expectations for attire. It's important to dress appropriately for the occasion to show respect for the restaurant and other diners.
  • Being polite and courteous: This includes saying please and thank you, not talking with your mouth full, and using your utensils properly. It also includes being respectful to the restaurant staff and other diners.
  • Tipping appropriately: Tipping is a customary practice in most restaurants, and it's important to tip appropriately based on the level of service you receive. In the United States, a tip of 15-20% is standard for good service.
  • Using your cell phone appropriately: It's important to be mindful of your cell phone use when dining out. Avoid taking phone calls or texting at the table, as this can be disruptive to other diners. If you must use your phone, step away from the table to do so.
  • Respecting the restaurant's atmosphere: Depending on the type of restaurant, there may be a certain atmosphere or ambiance that the restaurant is trying to create. It's important to be respectful of this by not being too loud or disruptive.
  • Being mindful of dietary restrictions: If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, it's important to notify the restaurant in advance so they can accommodate your needs. It's also important to be clear about your needs when ordering.
  • Sending back food appropriately: If you're unhappy with a dish, it's important to return it to the kitchen respectfully and appropriately. This means being clear about what the issue is and allowing the restaurant to correct it.

For restaurant employees, some basic etiquette practices include:

  • Greeting guests warmly: When guests arrive, it's important to greet them warmly and make them feel welcome. This sets the tone for a positive dining experience.
  • Being attentive: Restaurant employees should be attentive to their guests' needs, including refilling drinks, clearing plates, and addressing any issues that arise.
  • Providing helpful recommendations: If guests have questions about the menu or need recommendations, they must provide helpful and informed advice.
  • Handling issues professionally: If an issue does arise, it's important to handle it professionally and respectfully. This includes listening to the guest's concerns and finding a solution that meets their needs.
  • Following proper hygiene practices: Restaurant employees should follow proper hygiene practices, including washing their hands regularly and wearing appropriate attire. This helps ensure a safe and clean dining experience for guests.
  • Introducing yourself: When approaching a table, it's important to introduce yourself and make a personal connection with the guests. This helps establish a positive rapport and makes the guests feel welcome.
  • Anticipating guests' needs: Good service involves anticipating guests' needs before they even have to ask. This means being attentive to things like drink refills, menu questions, and any other requests the guests may have.
  • Using positive language: Using positive language, such as "certainly" and "my pleasure," can help create a positive and welcoming atmosphere for the guests.
  • Maintaining a clean and tidy appearance: Restaurant employees should maintain a clean and tidy appearance, including keeping their hair tied back and wearing clean uniforms. This helps create a professional and hygienic impression for the guests.
  • Being knowledgeable about the menu: Restaurant employees should thoroughly understand the menu, including ingredients and preparation methods. This allows them to provide helpful recommendations and answer any guests' questions.

Restaurant etiquette is an important part of dining out. Guests can respect the restaurant and other diners by following basic guidelines and practices, while employees can provide a positive and professional dining experience.