If you’ve ever read or looked up a restaurant review you must have heard of the famous Zagat Survey of restaurants. Tim Zagat started rating restaurants with his wife Nina over 30 years ago. The attorneys turned gastronomers help avid foodies find the perfect meal out.
So, what does the world-renowned Tim Zagat have to do with dining etiquette? Zagat believes dining etiquette is important to get the best out of your dining experience.
In light of this he has revealed 10 brand new dining etiquette rules to transform your next food outing.
ON CTV’s recent episode of Canada AM here’s what Zagat said:
“I think people are using rules of etiquette that are out of date.”
Over the years of dining at a wide range of food joints, with keen observation of diners, Zagat has updated these dining etiquette rules and introduced 10 of his own:
Women and men should be treated as equals in a restaurant. Still, a plurality of diners say that men are treated better than women. The explanation given is that men are more likely to pay the bill and tip. How dated can you be? She probably earns more than you.
2. Paying for it
Whoever initiates a dinner date pays. Long ago, women were handed menus with no prices on them. Nowadays, whoever did the inviting should be expected to pay for the meal, unless you’ve worked out another arrangement in advance.
3. Ordering food
Forget gender — people should order when they are ready. Sorry, Emily Post, but gone are the days when women were expected to go first. Since menus can be long and complex, regardless of your sex it’s a courtesy to order first and buy your tablemates a bit more time to decide.
4. Handheld vices
Do not talk, text, tweet, email or surf the web at table. It’s rude, say 63 per cent of diners. A whopping 73 per cent advise turning off those ringers. If you have urgent business to deal with, step away from the table briefly to handle matters.
5. Kids, kids, kids
It’s fine to bring children to dinner in most restaurants. But don’t do it at places where they’d elevate the decibel level or restaurants that are meant to be romantic. Zagat surveyors split over the age at which children should be allowed to accompany their parents to a restaurant: 38 per cent say from birth while the same per cent argue five years or older. Tellingly, 61 per cent believe that restaurants should be able to ban children.
6. Dressing down or up
Dress casually. This is known as the “Los Angelization of dining.” Hardly any restaurants require ties and jackets anymore. The tiny minority of restaurants that do will not object if you put your jacket over the back of your chair. About the only rule that is left today is “don’t be a slob.” Alternatively, you may want to “dress up” to impress your companion.
7. Serious reservations
People should treat dining reservations as important commitments. Honour your restaurant reservations or cancel them on time. Holding an empty table for a no-show does real damage to a restaurant. If you make reservations and fail to cancel in advance, you’ll deservedly become persona non grata at the restaurant.
8. Okay, now get out
Don’t overstay your welcome at a busy restaurant. Take your time and enjoy your food, wine, conversation and after-dinner treats. Nobody should ever feel rushed. But interestingly, 60 per cent of Zagat surveyors nationally supported the idea of restaurants setting time limits on tables during peak hours. Remember, next time you may be the one waiting in line.
9. Long live chivalry
Men go through doors first and then hold them open for women. We know, we know. This is the one rule of chivalry that will never die, even if it’s been updated (men used to allow women to go first). Two people can’t go through a door at the same time. To women out there who find this notion antiquated, please, humour these poor men. Let them get the door — they’ll let you get the bill or walk on the outside once out on the street.
10. Remember you’re the customer
The customer is always right. Too often customers feel they are being judged by the wait staff. That’s wrong. Short of berating the waiter, you should expect to receive hospitable, efficient service and good food at any restaurant. If that doesn’t happen, take your money elsewhere and tell the next 10 people that you meet.
There’s no doubt that dining etiquette matters. The right etiquette is critical to your personal and professional success. Click here to read more about how dining etiquette can help you impeccably handle any business or social meal with ease!