Dining out is considered an art form by many, where etiquette and decorum hold as much importance as the food itself. However, this social setting is also a minefield of potential faux pas. From disrupting the ambiance with loud phone conversations to disrespecting waitstaff, there are many pitfalls to navigate.
Here are 20 of the most unforgivable blunders you can commit when dining out. Read on to ensure you’re not the one caught making these egregious mistakes.
In the United States, the customary tip ranges from 15% to 20% of the total bill before tax. Disregarding this unwritten rule may leave your server feeling undervalued.
Being Rude to Waitstaff
Politeness goes a long way in ensuring a pleasant dining experience. The National Restaurant Association reports that 78% of guests value a friendly server over a quick service.
Ignoring Dress Code
Dress codes exist for a reason. Ignoring them can cause discomfort to other diners and show disrespect to the restaurant.
Being Late for Reservations
A survey by OpenTable revealed that 87% of people believe it’s rude to be more than 15 minutes late for a reservation.
Noisy Phone Calls
Taking a noisy phone call at the table is considered rude by 96% of people, according to a Zagat survey.
While it’s okay to voice legitimate concerns, constant nitpicking can spoil the dining atmosphere. As celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay notes, “A complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend.”
Taking Excessive Food Photos
A YouGov survey found that 69% of diners find it annoying when others take pictures of their food during a meal.
Overstaying Your Welcome
When a restaurant is busy, lingering at your table long after you’ve finished eating can prevent other customers from being seated.
Not Letting Kids Behave
Allowing children to run around or be excessively noisy can disrupt other diners. Research from the University of Michigan suggests that teaching children restaurant manners at a young age helps them become considerate diners.
Splitting the Bill Incorrectly
It’s crucial to split the bill fairly when dining in a group. A Visa survey reported that 42% of respondents have experiences where the bill was divided unequally, causing discomfort among the group.
Ignoring Food Allergies
Not communicating your dietary restrictions or food allergies to the server can lead to health risks. A study by Food Allergy Research & Education revealed that 15 million Americans have food allergies, and dining out is a significant risk factor for severe allergic reactions.
Ignoring the Server’s Suggestions
It’s a common mistake to dismiss the server’s recommendations out of hand. They are usually well-acquainted with the menu and can provide valuable insights.
Inappropriate Table Decorum
Elbows on the table, talking with food in your mouth, or using your phone while eating are some examples of poor table manners that can ruin the dining experience for others.
Taking Food Home Inappropriately
Asking for a doggy bag at a fine dining restaurant can be inappropriate. It’s essential to understand the type of restaurant before making such requests.
Returning Dishes Unreasonably
While it’s okay to return a dish if there’s a problem, repeatedly doing so without a valid reason can disrespect the chef
Neglecting to Make Reservations
Especially for popular restaurants, not making reservations and expecting immediate seating can inconvenience the staff and other diners.
Using Excessive Perfume
Solid perfumes or colognes can interfere with the aromas of the food, affecting the dining experience for those around you.
Asking for Substitutes Without Reason
Unless you have dietary restrictions, constantly asking for substitutes can disrupt the balance of flavors that the chef intended for the dish.
A loud conversation can disrupt the restaurant’s ambiance, making it uncomfortable for other diners.
Not Respecting the Privacy of Other Diners
Attempting to join conversations at other tables or commenting on their food choices is invasive and can spoil their dining experience.
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