Dining Etiquette Self-Test: Revise Your Table Manners

October 16, 2019 Updated: October 16, 2019

Table manners have been used by many as a criterion to evaluate a person. It helps reflect how considerate and well educated you are. Regardless of your age or social status, table manners do tend to matter.

Meanwhile, good dining etiquette becomes all the more essential when you join a workplace, as you are then invited for social gatherings or banquets. During such occasions, some of the important questions that need to be considered are “What is the first thing you should do at a business dinner? Should you use the right hand or the left hand to hold a fork?”

As important as they are, how good are your table manners? The short quiz below will not only help you understand and see the grasp of table manners you have but also help you in picking up some essential dining etiquette.

Illustration – Shutterstock | IVASHstudio

Dining Etiquette Questions to Test Your Table Manners

True / False Questions About Dining Etiquette

1. As one approaches the table, a dinner participant should take the closest available seat to sit.

2. A man should pull the chair out for the woman who is sitting next to him.

3. While you are out with your manager and a key client, a waiter looks at you first and asks you what you would like to drink. It is considered acceptable to order an alcoholic drink.

4. Once two or three people on your table have been served, it’s considered acceptable to begin eating.

5. If you happen to sneeze, it’s not considered okay to blow your nose at the table.

6. At a business dinner, it’s not considered fair for the guest to pay the bill.

7. If you happen to receive poor service, it’s considered okay to not tip the waitstaff.

8. It’s not okay to be a few minutes late at a business dinner.

9. While having a meal, it is not considered okay to keep your bag on the table, since it is small.

Answers:

1. FALSE – The guest of honor will get the best seat. Usually this is the seat with his/her back facing the wall whilst he/she facing the entire room. The host sits to the left of the guest of honor, and organizes the rest of the party.

2. FALSE – In a business setting, a woman may not want to follow this tradition. Therefore, a more flexible way is for the man to ask the woman as they approach the table, “Would you like to me get the chair for you?” Not, “Let me get the chair for you” which becomes more of a statement rather than a question.

3. FALSE – If you are not the host or the guest of honor, you should not be the first to order an alcoholic drink. Instead, you can:

(i)  Order a non-alcoholic drink, since you can always change your order.

(ii) Defer the question by telling the waitperson you’re not sure yet and request him to come back to you later.

4. FALSE – Wait until the host indicates you can begin or until the host starts eating.

5. TRUE

6. TRUE – The person who initiates the plan should pay. A guest should not negotiate to pay when the check arrives. If you are asked out but want to pay, the time to negotiate is done when the invitation is made.

7. FALSE – Tips are part of the contract we agree to while dining at a restaurant. Many people share the tip in a tip pool and not tipping means penalizing the others who served you well. Not tipping doesn’t solve the problem. The best way is to talk to the manager and let the manager manage the waitperson.

8. TRUE – Being late is not considered good, even if that means being a few minutes late.

9. TRUE – No bag should be kept on a dining table. It is not advised to place your bag behind your back too. The best choice is to place it on the floor beside your feet or on your lap, covering it with a napkin.

If you fared well to the above questions, below are some more multiple-choice questions on dining etiquette. Put your table manners to the test.

Illustration – Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla

Multiple Choice Questions About Dining Etiquette

1. What is the logic behind having all the silverware placed on the dining table?

a. To use utensils from the outside in.

b. The setting looks nice, however, there is no logic.

2. How are different forks and knives placed in a formal dining table? Arrange them from the left to right order 

a. Fish fork – main course fork – salad fork – salad knife – main course knife – fish knife – soup spoon – oyster fork

b. Salad fork – fish fork – main course fork – main course knife – fish knife – salad knife – soup spoon – oyster fork

Illustration – Wikimedia Commons | Hopefulromntic21

3. What is considered as the right order to a typical business meal?

a. Soup – salad – main course – dessert

b. Salad – main course – dessert – soup

4. What is the first thing to do after being seated? 

a. Place the napkin on your lap, even before the host.

b. Place the napkin on your lap, after the host.

5. As a guest, what food should you order?

a. Follow the host. Focus on mid-priced items.

b. Order your favorite lobster.

6. As a host, how should you help guests decide on what to eat

a. Order something that fits in your budget so guests can follow suit accordingly.

b. You do not have an appetite so you will order a salad for yourself only.

7. What should you do if the person on your left uses your bread plate?

a. Quietly point out the problem and ask them to give you their bread plate instead.

b. Use the bread plate of the person on your right.

8. When you drop a spoon on the floor, what should you do?

a. Leave it, tell a waitperson about it and request for a replacement.

b. Reach down to the floor and pick it up.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Ana Iacob Photography

9. If someone at your table has a piece of spinach stuck on their tooth, what should you do?

a. Catch the attention of the person who has the spinach stuck and quietly make a signal as though you were removing something from your tooth.

b. Yell across the table so he/she can hear you clearly.

10. When you come across a small bone in your mouth, how should you remove it?

a. Push it out of your mouth using the utensil (or pull it out with your fingers if you used your hand while eating). Then gently place it on the edge of the plate.

b. Raise your napkin to your mouth and push it out of your mouth and into the napkin.

11. What should you say when you need to excuse yourself from the table? And how should you place your napkin?

a. Quietly tell the person sitting next to you “Excuse me, I’ll be right back,” and loosely fold your napkin so that no stains are visible, and place it to the left of your plate.

b. “Excuse me, I’ve got to go pee. Be right back,” and place your napkin on the seat or the back of your chair.

12. The food was great but it was way too much. The waitperson asks you if you would like to get it packed so you could take it home. What should you do?

a. At a business event, do not ask for takeaway, but at a social event, it is okay.

b. Accept it with a yes, since you must not waste food.

13. When is it considered acceptable to talk about business at a business breakfast or lunch?

a. Wait until others have placed their meal order.

b. Wait until people have finished eating their food.

14. When is it acceptable to talk about business at a business dinner?

a. Wait until others have placed their meal order.

b. Wait until people have finished eating their main course.

15. What is considered an acceptable amount to tip?

a. 15 percent of the after-tax amount.

b. 15 percent of the pre-tax amount.

16. Is it acceptable for a woman to apply lipstick on the table at the end of the meal?

a. A quick application of lipstick is acceptable.

b. In a business social situation, it is not acceptable. A quick trip to the restroom would be the best solution.

Answers:

1. Option (b) – To use utensils from the outside in. The first course uses the utensils that are furthest out on the setting. If you don’t partake in a course, the waitperson should remove the unused utensils when clearing the plates for that course from the table.

2. Option (a) – Fish fork – main course fork – salad fork – salad knife – main course knife – fish knife – soup spoon – oyster fork.

Here is how the meal goes:

(1) Oyster fork for shrimp or oysters or clams on the half shell.

(2) Once the oyster fork is removed, the outermost utensil is a soup spoon, indicating the next course is a soup.

(3) The third course is fish. The small fork with a wide tine and the knife are used to pull fish off the bones but not to cut the fish like beef.

(4) Then follows the main course and salad.

(5) The sixth course is dessert. At a formal dinner or a dinner party, dessert utensils are brought out with the dessert.

3. Option (a) – Soup – salad – main course – dessert. As such, the order of utensils from left to right in a table setting for a typical business meal follows the word ‘FOrK’, which means Forks -> O-shaped plates -> Knives.

4. Option (a) – Place the napkin on your lap, even before the host. If a waitperson tries to do it for you, then allow them to do it.

5. Option (a) – Follow the host. Focus on mid-priced items. Remember to choose something that is easy to eat. Avoid ordering spaghetti, items with bones or those dishes that are complex to eat like lobsters and ribs. In addition, it is also better to avoid ordering something you have never tried before.

6. Option (a) – Order something that fits your budget so guests can follow suit accordingly. As a host, it’s essential to be familiar with the place and know their best offers. If you are not ordering something but want to offer your guests, recommend it and give them permission to go ahead.

7. Option (a) – Quietly point out the problem and ask them to give you their bread plate instead.

8. Option (a) – Leave it, tell a waitperson about it and request for a replacement.

9. Option (a) – Catch the attention of the person who has the spinach stuck and quietly make a signal as though you were removing something from your tooth.

10. Option (a) – Push it out of your mouth using the utensil (or pull it out with your fingers if you used your hand while eating). Then gently place it on the edge of the plate.

11. Option (a) – Quietly tell the person sitting next to you “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.” Loosely fold your napkin so that no stains are visible, and place it to the left of your plate. Remember, you don’t need to mention where you are going, as it may spoil a good appetite.

12. Option (a) – At a business event, do not ask for takeaway, but at a social event, it is okay.

13. Option (a) – Wait until others have placed their meal order. It’s tough to concentrate on business and discussion when people are choosing what food to eat. And since a business breakfast or lunch is a quick meal, go straight to business.

14. Option (b) – Wait until people have finished eating their main course. A business dinner is a good time to strengthen a personal as well as business relationship. The time up to the end of the main course is considered a perfect time to bond.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Iryna Prokofieva

15. Option (b) – 15 percent of the pre-tax amount.

16. Option (b) – In a business social situation, it is not acceptable. A quick trip to the restroom is the best solution.

What Is Your Grasp on Dining Etiquette?

If you are well versed with the above table manners, congratulations. However, if you did not get correct answers for some of the questions, it is never too late to learn a bunch of good dining etiquette to further cultivate your table manners. Finally, what is left for you to do is to really practice these.

Emily Post, an American author famous for writing on etiquette, once wrote, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

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