A basic knowledge of how to behave properly at a table setting is good business etiquette. Especially when there are several courses in a restaurant, it can get a bit confusing with all the cutlery and glasses. But fortunately, there are some simple basic rules that you can follow during the meal. This also applies to the use of the napkin and the question of which foods may be eaten with the hands.
The most important tips on cutlery
Appetizer, main course, intermediate course, dessert – and for all courses cutlery is ready on the table? Don’t panic, because there is a simple rule of thumb here. Basically, the outside cutlery is used first. With each course you then work your way further inwards.
Cutlery is always used from the outside in – with each course you work your way towards the plate.
Depending on the restaurant and the food ordered, the waiters may also bring additional cutlery to the table – fish knives or tongs can be added later. Who is uncertain, should not reach too hastily to the cutlery and better still wait a moment. A discreet glance at the other guests at the table can also provide information about which cutlery is the right choice before you reach for it haphazardly. Above the plate, there is often a small fork or spoon ready, they are exclusively for dessert and are welcome to be ignored until just before the end of the meal.
Another tip: In order not to get the steak "snatched" by a hasty waiter during the meal, it is important to know the correct cutlery language. Knife and fork correspond here to the hands of a clock. The cutlery at 4:20, which is the lower right side of the plate, signals that you are done. Crossed cutlery at 8:20, on the other hand, shows the service staff that you have only taken a break – used cutlery has no place on the table or on a napkin, so that there are no stains.
Choosing the right glasses in a restaurant
Glasses should be used from right to left.
In good restaurants, there is usually plenty of choice on the table when it comes to glasses, too. Here it behaves however similarly as with the cutlery – instead of selecting simply any one for a sip of water, right and left-handers should work their way strategically from right to left. Usually there is a water glass on the far right, a white wine glass to the left, and last but not least a red wine glass. If several courses are served, you can also expect to be served another glass with each new wine.
Finding the right wine
Today, wine connoisseurs are no longer quite so strict about choosing red or white wine to go with certain dishes. After all, everyone should drink what tastes best and suits them best. Still good to know: Traditionally, white wine is drunk with fish and white meat such as poultry. Red wine, on the other hand, goes well with dark meat such as game or beef – in addition, many red wine varieties harmonize with characteristic cheese. Light white wines are often served with the appetizer, because red, heavy varieties can overpower the taste buds. Etiquetteers are now also advised to dispense with a sonorous toast – a discreet toast is now considered more stylish.
When choosing wine, it depends on your own taste and the dish you are serving.