insights on communication skills

Insights on Communication Skills and Relationship Building

Business Dining Etiquette: Which Fork Do I Use?

Posted by Kerri Garbis on May 23, 2012

“Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.” ~ Emily Post

Business Dining EtiquetteOne of the first things people usually say to me after finding out that I’m an etiquette expert is something like “wow, you must have really great table manners”.  Well, I try.

While Etiquette has everything do to with treating those around you with consideration, respect, and honesty, it cannot seem to shake the table manners image and I’m Ok with that. Food is a big part of life, especially mine, so in honor of Ovation’s restaurant week, I offer you my top five table manners, for your day to day life as well as your business dining etiquette efforts!


    • First things first– Napkin! The very first thing you do when you sit down for a meal is put your napkin on your lap.  Your napkin is your body armor for the meal.  It will protect you and assist you in messy situations.

    • Utensils work is never done – Once your utensils have been used for anything they do not return to the table.  Their holding place is on a plate, saucer, or even a clean utensil, in a pinch.  The goal here is to keep your eating area clean (the tablecloth too)

    • BMW– Until I was offered this tip during my etiquette training at The Emily Post Institute I was always wondering “which bread plate is mine?”  Keep in mind my favorite car and you will be good to go. Like reading, your place setting from left to right is BMW: Bread, Meal, Water.

    • Let’s stay together– The Salt and Pepper are BFF’s and belong together, always. Someone may request just the salt, but both the salt and pepper should always be passed together.

    • Finish with grace– When you are finished with your meal just leave the plates where they are on the table. While stacking the plates and pushing them aside may seem helpful for the person who will be clearing the table, it can make your dining companions feel rushed to finish their meal not to mention is not a pleasant thing to see while still eating.

Like etiquette, table manners are all about making those around you comfortable. They are the core of business dining etiquette, as well as key for your personal life. Enjoy your meal, dine with ease, and most importantly use the time to build a relationship!


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Topics: Building Relationships, Restaurants & Food, General