Top Eating Out and Dining Etiquette Mistakes
I travel frequently for both work and pleasure. Traveling forces you to have to eat out a lot, and, often with people you really don't care to eat out with :) I've dined out with probably thousands of people from all walks of life. From my experience, it basically seems most people have no clue about eating out etiquette. My experience has allowed me to identify the common eating etiquette breaches that most people make.
In this article I bring the 10 most common of these breaches to attention. These are not listed in any particular order. Hopefully, you’ll learn from this article and won’t make the same mistakes! If you know someone that makes these mistakes, feel free to share this article with them!
1. Using Thumb / Fingers
I don’t know why this is, but nearly everyone seems to use their thumb to “push” food onto their fork. This makes no sense to me. Why use your thumb to put food onto a utensil? The easy solution for this is to use your knife to push food onto your fork. Don’t use your fingers – you’re supposed to be an adult that knows better, right?
2. Smelling the Cork
So, you’re sophisticated and order a nice wine with dinner. That’s great, but when the waiter or waitress opens the bottle and gives you the cork, do you smell it? If so, you’re a poser. The cork will smell like cork. You should take a look at the cork to see if it’s falling apart, which means air probably got into the wine or to see if the wine shows through the whole cork – again, air got into the wine due to a faulty cork, bad seal. The initial taste will tell you if the wine is good or not if you can’t figure out the cork thing! Don’t smell the cork or you’ll give yourself away as a poser!
3. Baseball Cap
Not sure why men think it’s cool or appropriate to wear a baseball cap while dining out – it’s not. Take the cap off…
4. Sending Things Back
By this, I mean doing things like sending the food back or the wine back because it’s not up to your “sophisticated taste”. This is acceptable to do every now and then, but if you make a habit out of “sending things back”, you’re just annoying and a pretentious ass.
5. Group Tipping
If you’re out to dinner with a group, don’t skim the tip because you’re paying a single check and you think no one will notice. I once traveled with a guy that would always offer to pay the bill for the group with his credit card. We’d all give him cash, including tip, and he’d charge the bill to his credit card and not tip anything and pocket our tips – he usually made out in the positive. Once I noticed this, he didn’t pull that trick any longer and we made him tip. With a group, pay your part….it’s better to over pay, than to be known as the cheapskate…also, don’t forget the taxes!
6. Cutting Steak all at Once
So, you order a nice New York Strip or Rib Eye…do you cut it all at once into small pieces? Hell no! You cut a piece off when you’re ready to eat it. Do not cut your steak into little bite size pieces all at once…you’re not a child anymore that needs your food “cubed”…cut the steak as you eat it.
7. Special Requester
If you don’t like tomatoes that’s fine…ask for the salad without tomatoes. Don’t constantly special order everything though. You’re not really that special…especially, if you’re going to Applebee’s or some lame chain. I’ve traveled with people that special order everything, all the time. They want the chef salad, minus the tomatoes, minus the onions, minus the egg, minus the ham, with everything else on the side. Then, they usually complain that it wasn’t “what they ordered”. These people are annoying and high maintenance. We try to avoid eating out with them.
8. Delayed Payer
Often when dining in a group that I traveled with, we would just alternate who picked up the bill. Every now and then, however, we’d run into a travel mate that was always real hesitant to offer to pay or would go to the bathroom for a really long time when the check came. Don’t be this person…we’re on to you…if it’s your turn to pay – pay!
9. Bite Size
Don’t cram as much food as possible in your mouth. Take small, reasonable bites that you can chew and swallow relatively quickly. Also, don’t talk with food in your mouth…this is gross!
10. Fast Water Drinker
Yes, you know who you are – the person that only orders water, drinks it as quickly as possible, pushes the empty glass to the end of the table, and bitches about how long it takes for a refill! If you ordered a glass of wine and it’s empty, this is understandable, but if it takes a few minutes to get a refill on water, so what…it’s free anyway!