Fine dining is a sophisticated, expensive and unique culinary affair. There is more formality, fancy furniture and the staff has high-end expertise. You may also expect celebrity chefs in an elegant and luxurious set-up. Top-shelf liquors and exotic ingredients are other USPs of this style of dining. The market size of fine dining restaurants stood at $11 billion in 2021 with 150,110 industry employees. The figure is attributed to the rise in consumers’ interest in global cuisines. Studies have found that this ‘white tablecloth’ segment makes up 1.4% of the Full-Service Restaurant landscape in the United States.
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Learning the etiquette to follow is critical for plenty of reasons. You can create a favorable impression in business meets. One may also come across as a polished individual on their first date. It is a visible sign of manners and habits. Savoring dishes like crab boil, lobsters, snow crab and cocktails becomes a lot easier as well. So, here’s a guide on a few rules to follow on your next visit for a comfortable experience.
1. Dress the Right Way
The mood is usually casual regardless of a five-star or a normal restaurant. Studies have found that 57% of average Americans’ weekly wardrobe is casual. So, there is hardly any authority on what you must wear while in a fine dining bistro. But women can consider wearing exquisite dresses and avoid t-shirts or flip-flops. Men can ditch the shorts and pick full trousers, shirts and suits. You may also go the extra mile with embellished jackets, clutches, cufflinks and leather shoes. But do not compromise on your comfort.
2. Try Not to Clink
Fine dining places are typically quiet to avoid spoiling the joy of eating. Keep the toast short and avoid clinking the rims together. The less noise, the better. You do not end up disturbing the other guests. It is also poor etiquette since the glassware is likely to be fine and can crack. You may simply point your wine or martini tumblers towards one another and say ‘cheers’. However, it is alright to clink in a gentle way if someone has already raised their champagne flute, highball or shots.
3. Avoid the Phone
Do not use the mobile in between a fancy meal. Attending calls, texting or clicking endless photos of the dishes can come across as mighty rude before guests. They are highly distracting and might spoil the overall mood of fine dining at ease. Fun fact: a study published in Physiology and Behavior found that people gained 15% more calories when looking at their phones while eating. Instead, make eye contact and engage with the others at the table. This rule can be slightly loosened when you are with your family. A selfie or two together will not hurt since nobody will mind here.
4. Practice Proper Posture
Keep your spine straight and elbows away from the table. Your knees must be at level with your hips and sit close to the table to prevent yourself from stretching to reach the meal. Keep the napkin folded in half with the crease facing you. The stains must be closed on the inside so you do not feel conscious since it may show up on the face.
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Drink with your right hand and eat with your left hand if possible. Bad posture was once seen in 38.3% of children and more frequently in boys in the Czech Republic. Try to follow these simple hacks since posture is a reflection of how you feel about yourself at the time of eating.
5. Bills and Tips
Arguing over the bill is not acceptable since the one who has invited you pays it. Let the server know beforehand if you wish to split. They will bring different cheques to the table. Make sure the costs are evenly shared. You may consider leaving at least 20% of the amount after tax as a ‘tip’ for the waiter. Know that anything less than 15% maybe slightly offensive. Offering a larger tip is a good gesture if the service was exemplary.
Slurping, burping or smacking loudly is a substandard behavior. Avoid stuffing your mouth with food. Cut only a bite-sized amount to avoid awkwardness. Refrain from criticizing the meal and be polite at all times.