Do you feel nervous when you visit a 5 star hotel? Do you feel confused about how to place the napkin on your lap, or how to summon the server politely? Have you planned a date in a lavish restaurant, but you are stressed as it is your first time there and you do not want to leave a bad impression on your girlfriend?
If yes, then this article is just for you.
I am well aware of the fact that, we are never really provided with the education regarding this formal dining conduct and so this confusion is justifiable. Being a member of the Hospitality Industry, I noticed some common rules that are generally not followed by the guests, hence I will help you out to get rid of the trepidation and panic.
There is a host that meets you at the door. They greet you and you ask them for a table according to the number of guests you are with, for example, "May I have a table for two?". They might also ask you the same, judging by the number of people that are with you.
As they will escort you to the table, you can ask for an outdoor seating arrangement (if that is available) as well if you want to smoke.
Once you reach to the table, a food and beverage personnel AKA a steward will come to you and handle the table.
The server will pull the chair and help you getting seated and will spread the napkin on your lap.
If the personnel is not spreading the napkin, you need to do it yourself. This varies in different hotels.
How to handle the napkin?
Pick up the napkin from the table and spread it in a triangular fashion. Fold your napkin with the crease toward you before putting it in your lap.
Napkins are to be folded in half with the crease facing toward you.
How to order the food?
When the server provides you with the menu card, order the food in a polite way. You can ask about things that you do not know. We need to understand that being a first timer should not make you nervous.
If you fail to understand what a 'consommé' is, it is not a problem. Ask your server about the doubts. It is OK to ask about anything, but remember to be kind and polite at all times.
After you have ordered the food, the server will confirm the order and leave.
This is where the main confusion arises. The Etiquettes differ according to the kind of cuisine the restaurant is serving, but some basic things to be kept in mind are:
-Do not make a lot of noise while talking or chewing food.
-The server will serve the food in everyone's plate in a clockwise order, be patient.
-Do not call for the server in a condescending manner, rather be polite and smile.
-Do not spill food on the table, if accidentally it happens, be polite and apologize. There is no harm in apologizing.
These differ according to the style and cuisine of the restaurant.
A check/cheque is simply a bill that we get after we finish our food.
Never ask for the check without asking the party you are with. Let them finish and then ask for the check.
Use sentences like,
"Can I have the bill/check please" or "May I have the..." or "Could I have the.." etc in a very polite way.
Do not forget to tip as it is mandatory to tip in some countries, in India it is not, but you should always tip, as not tipping is a sign of unsatisfactory service.
Now you can pay and leave, thanking for the service and also you can ask for the feedback card if you wish to.
These were some basic things one should know when planning to visit a 5 star restaurant for the first time. So don't stress out and Bon Appétit! (said to someone who is about to eat, meaning "I hope you enjoy your food").
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