Whether you're meeting business clients or taking the family out for a nice meal there are certain rules to dinning out in a restaurant which every gentleman should understand and embody.
This is a subject I've been wanting to touch on for a great while now. I find that in the new age of technology and social media it seems the great experience of dinning out has changed in many of ways. The most notable- and most unfortunate is many people lack the humanity and etiquette to behave properly in a restaurant setting.
Have no fear for this means the gentleman will only shine brighter in this age of millennials.
I urge you to be a gentleman in every application of this word.
So, this leads us to how should a gentleman conduct himself in a restaurant setting?
There's no doubt that certain occasions call for different attitudes and behaviors from everyone involved in the dining experience. Yet there are still rules of engagement which must be upheld at all times.
Ever wonder why Uncle Jim isn't invited to many dinners anymore? It's because he never follows the cardinal rules of dinning.
Becoming a gentleman is a process of continuous improvement and hopefully in this post there is information which will aid you in developing your inner gentleman.
So here is my 8 common rules for acting like a gentleman when dinning in a restaurant:
MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR WAITER
Your waiter is there to aid you and make your experience as pleasant as possible. Make no mistake, the waiter is your only way to get your food and drink. Remember, they are skilled workers who know the menu and wine list better than you (at least they should) so speak with them with respect and ask their opinion if you want to tailor the meal to your preferences!
SET UP PAYMENT AHEAD OF TIME
This is applicable when you're the host of the evening. Simply let the waiter know you wish to pay for the meal and set up a plan for ease of payment. A gentleman pays the bill discreetly, not boisterously.
REMEMBER WHAT YOUR MOM TAUGHT YOU
Common table manners are always present in a gentleman while dinning. Simple things like not speaking with a mouth full and wiping your mouth clean with a napkin are not rewarded, but make the mistake of not following these rules will result in you looking like a common scoundrel rather than a fine gentleman.
DON'T BE A WINE SNOB
This is especially true if you are not completely versed in the wine universe. Wine is one of the greatest pleasures we get to enjoy on this earth, don't ruin the experience for others by speaking to the knowledge you have on wine no matter how vast it may be. Ask questions, have a pleasant discussion on the varietals, order the wine and enjoy it. (This is different if you're dinning with Sommoliers, nevertheless even they get tired of talking tannins all night)
PLEASANT CONVERSATIONS LEAD TO PLEASANT EVENINGS
Mind your manners. Understand that the vast majority of people don't want to talk about tough subjects while enjoying their strip loin. Consider others before bringing up dark and troubling subjects at the dinner table.
BE PRESENT IN THE CONVERSATIONS
Show people you're present in the evening. Leave your phone on silent and tucked away. Contribute to the conversation and ask leading questions to fuel further conversations. Often times good food isn't enough to make a night memorable.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
When it comes to alcohol consumption, it's important to never over drink. Keep your faculties working efficiently, no one wants to wake up with regrets over silly things they said the night prior.
PLACE YOUR CREDIT CARD ON THE EDGE OF THE TABLE
When your evening is coming to a close, refrain from waving your waiter down like an inflatable arm flailing tube man. Simply place your method of payment on the edge of your table, that way your waiter will return with a bill and a machine for a quick and easy payment.