Vincy Workplace
May 28, 2004

Don’t be a buffet hog

Dining Etiquette Part 1

Although we all eat food every day, not everyone is aware of the rules that govern eating in a business setting.
Whether it’s fine dining or a buffet-style gathering, business professionals must be cognisant of their dining etiquette to avoid costly mistakes to the company and their careers. {{more}}
It’s not unusual for job interviews to be held over a meal, as businesses are evaluating the skills of potential employees and how they will perform when asked to entertain clients.
Dining skills are crucial especially for business professionals who travel and interact with potential clients and competitors on an international level. The rules are simple; keep these in mind the next time you attend a

1. Avoid foods that are messy or that can cause unpleasant breath (garlic, onions, etc.).

2. No double dipping. You are only allowed to dip your item once if a communal dip is used. If you need extra dip, scoop a little more on your plate, then you are free to dip as any times as you like in your own plate.

3. If you touch a food item, it’s yours. DO NOT put it back.

4. Don’t point, pick or make faces as you choose what to eat.

5. If you bite something that is distasteful to you, do not make a spectacle of yourself (make faces or speak badly of the item). Simply use your napkin discreetly and discard, or excuse yourself to the restroom.

6. If you spill, please notify the staff immediately. Don’t try mopping it up with your napkin especially if it’s on the floor. Apologize and move on.

7. Do not begin eating while you are still in the line obtaining your food.

8. Hold your drink in your left hand to avoid offering a cold, wet hand when greeting someone.

9. Avoid excessive conversation directly over the food.

10. Do not pile your plate. It’s best to return for seconds after you allow everyone to go through the line once.

11. Select a variety of foods instead of splurging on the best and most expensive items. For example, avoid piling your plate with all the best meats and seafood.

12. Always discard your empty utensils properly (in the garbage, leave at the clean-up station, or give to a member of the wait staff). Never leave your wet cups or dirty plates on furniture, on the stairs, in the garden or just thrown about.

13. If you are being served by a wait staff, take the napkin that is being offered with the item.

14. Do not hover around the buffet table and keep refilling your plate.

15. Do not cut the line, or go against the flow of the line.

Exercise a little common sense, respect and courtesy towards your colleagues and you will be well on your way to being a polished, savvy professional.

l Next week we will offer tips on how to navigate the utensils and rules of a formal dinner.