5 of the Most Basic Table Etiquette

November 9, 2015

fine dining

What are the 5 basic table etiquette rules

  1. Chew with your Mouth Closed
  2. Keep Your Smartphone
  3. Use Your Napkin
  4. Keep Your Posture in Check
  5. Converse

Eating has always been an integral part of everyday life, seeing as it is one of our basic needs to survive. No matter what you look or where you look at, food is always bound to be around.

While it can be used purely for survival, it has become one of the most enjoyable activities one can partake in, even more so when it’s done with friends or family. Over the centuries, the act of eating has become diversified, as people from different parts of the world have developed their own manners and culture when it comes to dining. Depending on where you reside in the world and the utensils you decide to use, those manners change.

For instance, in your household, it’s considered proper or ‘okay’ to prop your elbows on the table while you eat. However, when eating in a place outside of your household, that routine or etiquette is bound to change. Same as with other countries. Here in the Philippines, it’s considered okay to eat with your hands on certain occasions. However, upon entrance to any foreign country, make sure to use your utensils at the right instances.

Nevertheless, there exists a basic etiquette that may apply no matter where you are in the world. From French Michelin-starred restaurants down to local caterers in Manila, certain things like posture and basic table manners remain similar with only slight variations, if any. Here are 5 basic dining etiquette you should know in order to have a smooth dining experience.

Chew with your Mouth Closed

This should go without saying, but it’s one most people tend to forget. Chewing with your mouth closed will not only keep your food from ungraciously falling out onto your plate, but it will also keep the other guests from viewing your mushed up morsels as they messily slosh around while you chew.

Also, this etiquette can prove vital in saving your life in a life-threatening situation such as choking on your food. When you talk with food in your mouth, there’s a chance that some food may end up in the wrong pipe, hence the choking part of the problem.

With that said, always chew with your mouth closed. Just remember to slow down and savor each and every bite instead of just gorging on your food like there’s no tomorrow.

Keep Your Smartphone Away

Ostensibly a difficult thing to do for many, though far from impossible. It’s basic etiquette, even when not in front of the table — phones should be used minimally (or better yet, not at all) during heavily social events. It’s customary to focus on the people you’re with rather than those online. After all, why go to a social gathering (like a dinner party perhaps) if you don’t have plans of being social at all? Besides, it can be considered pretty awkward when the person beside you is more interested in what’s behind their phone screen than actually conversing with you. And don’t even get started when this happens during dates.

To make this more interesting, why not make it a bet with you and your friends? Gather all of your phones and stack them atop each other like a tower. The bet is to see which one of you lasts the longest at the table without looking at their phone. Whoever picks up their phone first loses and has to pay the bill for the entire party.

Use Your Napkin

For some, like the Americans, it’s good manners to place a napkin on one’s lap before eating, but for others like the Japanese (who use a warm, rolled-up version) simply cleaning your hands with them is enough. Also, when eating, mind yourself and make sure to wipe all the stains off of your face. After all, it’s a rather unpleasant experience to eat with someone who has half his plate already stuck on his face.

In fact, if you happen to find yourself bored before dinner, your napkin can be a great agent for amusement, which is where origami comes into place. With it, you can fold your napkin into a variety of shapes for further entertainment. Just be sure to keep it neat just in time for your meal.

Keep Your Posture in Check

Do not slouch and keep your elbows off the table as much as you can (especially when eating outside). No one wants to see a physically able person eating like there’s a giant weight on their back.

There’s no reason to hunch over your food like a caveman or sit like you’re floating off the floor; make sure to always sit properly and eat with a straight back and relaxed arms so the food will have no problems traveling down to your digestive system and your guests won’t have to question your position at the table.

Make Sure to Converse

Although some people may prefer to sit quietly while eating, it’s considered a little rude. Do your best to engage in active conversation with those around you, though limit it to those who are on the same table as you. (Shouting over other people is considered very bad manners.) Use your inside voice; try not to make too much of a ruckus but also ensure that the conversation doesn’t fall flat.

For this, all you’ll really need to create a conversation out of anything. It’s the effort to bond with your fellow table-dwellers that counts very much.

Key Takeaway

There’s a lot of other manners that should be considered when on the table. Your dining experience will surely guarantee your satisfaction, even more so when these manners are observed.

With the enlightenment you now have on the basic etiquette to be observed, it’s now up to you to put them into action. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the food on your plate even more. Having proper manners will give you a good impression with the people you eat food with.


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