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Eating Utensil Etiquette

Updated on October 4, 2013
I did not make or take this photo. I found it online.
I did not make or take this photo. I found it online.

Eating Utensil Etiquette

When eating in a nice restaurant it is important to know the proper place settings for your utensils so that the wrong eating instrument isn't picked up. While using the “outside-in” rule is easy, Strauss (2013) suggests learning to identify the utensils that go with each dish if you plan to eat in proper settings often.

We’ll start on the left. Forks and napkins are always to the left of the dinner plate, along with a small bread plate and a butter knife. The forks follow the “outside-in” rule. If there are three, the one on the farthest left is for salad and the middle one is for the meal. The third one is optional while properly setting the table and it is always for dessert. The dessert utensil can also be placed at the head of your plate. In this case it can be either a fork or a spoon. The butter knife sits on top of the bread plate, which sits up and to the left of the meal plate. (Strauss, 2013)

Directly to the right of your plate are the spoons and the cutting knife. The largest spoon is for soup while the smaller one is for drinks such as coffee or tea. The glasses are up and to the right and a bit more meticulous. The left and topmost glass is for water, while the rightmost glass is for white wine. The middle glass is for red wine. A cup and saucer are sometimes offered either before or after the meal is served. They will be placed directly to the right of your spoons. Remember, a napkin is an eating utensil and should be left in one neat piece. If you get up end are finished, put it in your plate. If you are not finished, put it beside your plate on either side. Don’t leave it in a ball and don’t leave it on your chair. (Strauss, 2013)


Strauss, E. (2013). Dining etiquette in the workplace. Retrieved from

Note: APA references should have a hanging indent but if Hubpages allows that, I don't know how to do it.

© 2013 info-overload


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