If you’ve gone out for any sort of meal recently, you’ve probably noticed a disturbing trend. Few people seem to know how to properly comport themselves anymore.
Using proper table manners, and generally behaving appropriately in public, can be essential for your success. Etiquette counts whether you’re on a date, conducting a job interview over lunch, or having a business meeting. It pays to be polite.
A recent survey of roughly 1,500 diners has revealed the most inexcusable restaurant habits that customers are displaying. From rearranging the furniture to high-maintenance ordering, from Instagraming their soup to snapping for service, here are the dining out behaviours that bother people the most.
I’ve categorized them for your convenience.
Nine restaurant moves that make you look like a complete douche
- Clicking your fingers for the server
- Not sharing a ‘sharing platter’ and eating more than your share
- Being too loud and raucous
- Flirting with the server
- Scooping out the ice from your drink with your fingers
- Chugging down a drink as soon as it is served
- Miming a signing gesture for the bill
- Paying just your exact share when splitting the bill
- Not leaving a tip
Six common ordering outrages
- Asking if a particular meal is vegan, organic, fair trade, dairy free, gluten free etc.
- High maintenance ordering. (“Can I have the Caesar salad with kale instead of romaine, with the dressing on the side, hold the croutons and bacon, and have feta instead of parmesan cheese, please?”)
- Mispronouncing the name of a dish (“I’ll have the chicken fah-jite-ahs, please. With the chip-oh-lite salad.“)
- Asking for ketchup or mayonnaise in a fine dining establishment. (But of course, Grey Poupon is still acceptable.)
- Requesting cutlery because you don’t know how to use chopsticks.
- Asking for a toothpick and removing food from your teeth at the table. #Gross
The top five technology offenses
- Placing your phone on the table next to you
- Texting while at the table
- Answering or making a phone call without leaving the table
- Taking a picture of your meal
- Updating social media about the meal you’re currently having
The 13 most frequent table manner calamities
- Rearranging the chairs and tables to accommodate your group
- Tucking your napkin in your collar
- Wiping hands on the tablecloth
- Blowing your nose in a napkin
- Talking with your mouth full
- Blowing on hot food too loudly
- Holding a knife like a pencil
- Using the wrong cutlery for the course
- Holding a knife and fork in the wrong hands
- Licking a knife
- Pouring white wine in a glass that was being used for red
- Touching up make-up at the table
- Going outside for a smoke
Of course, not everyone agrees. Even among the participants in this study, there were dissenting views, particularly about the use of technology at the table. More than one-third of those surveyed (39 per cent) feel that it is fine to check your phone in a restaurant – provided it’s just once or twice.
Almost ten per cent go so far as to say that it would be ‘impossible’ to sit through and enjoy a meal without using their smart phone.
So maybe the rules of proper dining etiquette need to be updated for the interactive technology era. What do you think? What’s the most egregious rude behaviour that you witness when dining out?