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In today’s inter-reliant, international and culturally diverse world economy, cross-cultural differences can have an impact on business success. Both at an individual and organizational level understanding the values, etiquette and protocol of different cultures can positively influence your dealings in the worldwide marketplace A lack of cross cultural awareness can result in misinterpretations which may cause offense. Such outcomes may end in your reputation being tarnished and your business objectives impacted. Cross cultural understanding and appreciation of foreign etiquette is important for today’s globe trotting business person to avoid such negative repercussions. One area of importance in cross cultural awareness is the different dining etiquettes of the world. Understanding dining etiquette can help international business people polish their conduct and behaviour while dining or entertaining. Cross cultural dining etiquette involves considering the following points: • Seating – is there a protocol as to who sits where? Should one wait to be seated? Is it acceptable etiquette for men/women to sit next to one another? • Eating - what utensils, if any, are used? Is it a knife and fork, hands or chopsticks? Is there any etiquette around using them? • Body language – how should one sit? Is it bad etiquette to rest elbows on the table? If seated on the floor what is the correct position? • Conversation – is the meal the proper place to engage in conversation? If so, is discussing business appropriate? • The food – what foods are common to eat? Is it good etiquette to compliment the cook and how? Does one finish everything on the plate? Is it polite to ask for more. • Home/restaurant - what differences in etiquette or protocol would there be? Does one take a gift to the home? Who pays the bill at a restaurant? By way of outlining some of the cross cultural differences in dining etiquette across the world, the following countries shall be used as examples:
Dining Etiquette in Germany • It is good etiquette to remain standing until shown where to sit. • Table manners are continental – fork in left hand and knife in right. • Do not begin eating until the host signals to do so. • It is bad etiquette to rest elbows on the table. • Try and cut food with the fork as it compliments the cook by showing it is tender. • Everything should be eaten on the plate. • Indicate you have finished by lying the fork and knife parallel across the right hand side of the plate. Dining Etiquette in Japan: • An honoured guest sits at the centre of the table furthest from the door and begins eating first. • Learn to use chopsticks – never point them, never pierce food with them, rest them on the chopstick rest when breaking for drink or chat. • It is good etiquette to try a bit of everything. • Conversation is subdued. Dining Etiquette in Turkey: • Meals are a social affair. Conversations are animate and loud. • The head of the family or honoured guest is served first. • It is good etiquette to insist the most senior is served first instead of you. • Asking for more food is a compliment. • If taken to a restaurant, Turkish dining etiquette has strict rules that the one who extended the invitation must pay.
• Many foods are eaten by hand. sauces etc. menu stands. the fork is switched back to the right hand. coasters. Therefore it is very necessary that a lot of thought goes into choosing the table that would suit your purpose. compliment all dining tables. the fork is switched to the left hand. cruet sets. By doing so you present yourself to the best of your ability and maximise the potential of your business trip. Make it a point however to ensure that after the meal all things come back to the side table properly washed. trays etc. It is prudent to try and ascertain some facts about the dining etiquette of any country you plan to visit on business. • Foods or drinks can be refused without causing offense. For a table for two to four persons. • To use the knife. Dining Etiquette in the Middle East: • Guests are honoured with prime choice of meats – head. or 4 by 2 feet rectangle or 3 feet diameter if it's a round table. to share not only their meals but also their thoughts and deeds. • It is proper etiquette to compliment the host on the food and his hospitality. Allow good leg space and facility for chairs to be pushed in when not in use. ice buckets. which has to complement the rest of the décor. jugs. Table Accessories An Accessory may be a thing of secondary or subordinate importance but one cannot deny that they add to the beauty. It definitely increases the efficiency of service. All tables should have a height of 30 inches and correspondingly the chairs should have a height of 18 inches whereas for kids an extra cushion can be added. napkins. convenience and effectiveness of whatever they are accessorizing. candle stands. • If you are more comfortable eating in the Continental manner it will not offend anyone. flower vases. mats. While choosing a dining table one has to take into consideration a few points.5 feet square is required). Side Table A side table should ideally. If space provides one can also keep preservatives like pickles. It not only has a utility value but can also add to the aesthetics and make the room look full. you have to choose between a rectangle or round table with the size increasing correspondingly to the number of persons you want to accommodate on one table. Wood is still the most preferred choice.Dining Etiquette in the USA: • The fork is held in the right hand and is used for eating. • Do not be afraid of making a mess. For it is over this piece that the family gathers two to three times a day. cutlery. The above are a very small number of examples of cross cultural differences in dining etiquette. Like for example design is important but not at the cost of basics. It can be utilized to keep crockery. other decorative pieces. the convenient size is 3 feet square (minimum 2. glassware. • If you are finished leave food on your plate otherwise it will be filled immediately. eyes. etc. Availability of space is however the prime aspect. wiped and stacked in its original place. • Meat is torn by holding down the piece against the dish and ripping off a desired amount with forefinger and thumb pressed together • Rice is scooped up. • Eaten with right hand only. A water. Tables The dining table is definitely one of the most important piece of furniture in any home. The material and design come next. Chairs should be sturdy and designed to support the right posture for sitting. To continue eating. For more than four people. .proof tabletop is the most ideal.
With the side table at your service you can empty your dining table and double its use for study etc. nor forward and also never let the elbows touch the table. This makes a good impression. When you have finished eating. "Please" and "Thank you" are basic manners at the table: Say "Please" when asking people to pass you something and "Thank you" when you receive something. the side table can have cupboards with shelves and drawers to keep various things. which can keep a few dishes warm while they wait their turn to be served. following are some tips: 1 If some beverage or food is spilled on some guest while eating: The best way is to handle the situation with a calm and quiet frame of mind. quietly put it in a paper napkin and then continue. When a person has finished eating. Chew small bites of food and swallow with the mouth closed. etc. quietly send it back . Width of the side table should be 18-24 inches. which can't be swallowed. You can also keep an electric heating plate on top. keep your hands on your lap or rest on the table. bones. They should be lined with sound absorbing cloth. And if one aspires to attain any degree of social standing it is absolutely necessary to conform to these rules. When you are not eating. How to Behave at the Dining Table Posture: Sit up straight at the table." And then wait for all to be finished before leaving the table. seeds. If there is something in the mouth. this is the best way to inform the server that you have finished eating. The table and tablecloth should be kept clean. never lean backward. There are Manners set for every aspect of social existence among which Table Manners play an important part in making a favourable impression. One should avoid touching nose.) End the meal properly. Wait for others to start eating. express appreciation for the meal. Avoid spitting anything out. Do not put bones or any other morsels on the table.The worktop of the side table should be at 34 inches from the ground. Food is passed at a family meal by the head of the family or the host/hostess: It is often passed in a counterclockwise movement around the table. Apologise first and then using the cloth napkin and water wipe it gently or else gently guide the guest to the washroom. after the meal is finished. Upto the worktop. teeth and combing hair while dinning. You can perhaps say "What a delicious meal! Thank you so much. The best way to use a napkin: The napkin should be placed on the lap to catch crumbs or drips while eating food and should be kept back on the table neatly. They are visible signals of our behaviour and upbringing and therefore essential to professional as well as personal success. the fork and the knife are placed diagonally crossed across the plate. 2 When a bug appears: If a bug or anything of that sort appears in your salad etc. It is best to order foods that can be eaten with a knife and a fork. (e. Some Important Table Manners To handle some of the unfortunate and embarrassing moments while eating food. You can have the display cabinet designed upto a height of 72 inches above the worktop. In many homes they say a prayer first. The only way to eat is slowly and quietly. Finger foods can be messy and are best left for informal dining.g. Table Manners To the Manners Born The word Manners is defined in dictionary as social conduct as per the rules prevalent in the society that one lives in. Smoking should not be done while dining out. fitted at the back of the side table.
Desserts can either be kept on the same buffet table or on a separate dessert section. Table Setting Buffet Set Up and Services buffet meal is the most convenient way to serve a group of people at informal gatherings. etc). the dishes should be pre-plated in the kitchen and placed at individual covers as soon as the guests are seated. 3 To remove a distasteful food item from the mouth: The food should be removed in the napkin discreetly and the food morsel should be kept out of view from others. inviting and in sufficient quantities with the marvelous aromas wafting across. additional food may be placed in the center of the table or on an extra table adjacent to the dining table __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ . should be placed next to the plates. main courses.soup being the first and dessert being the last. 4 If a piece of silverware falls onto the floor: It should be picked up if one can reach it and the server should be told to replenish it with a clean one. At the buffet table if the service of any dish is difficult for the guests to manage while holding the plate. Food should be always eaten with right hand. So you can eat with your fingers provided you use just the first two segments of the thumb. where a variety of desserts can be displayed. In this type of setups. an appropriate server should be arranged to serve that particular dish. It should be bright. the plates should be stacked at the end of the table from where the service is going to begin. noisy or sophisticated should contain an element of joy and merriment. the index and middle fingers to pop the food into the mouth. The food should be served in order of the courses of the menu . The food placed on the buffet table should follow the order of the courses of the menu (salads. It is usually set up on a large dining table on which food is laid out in a particular order to make it more navigable and attractive. If desired. Plated Service and set up: In this type of service. The entire cutlery. Some food items can be eaten with fingers: Some food tastes better when eaten with fingers. The term 'Buffet' service means self-service so the guests normally serve themselves. he can serve them. Avoid licking fingers after finishing the food.but do not point it out because it might ruin the entire dinner for the rest of the people. but if the host wants to give a personalized service to his guests. soup. accompaniments. breads. along with other crockery. All buffets whether they are cozy.
. and looks too casual. Use it frequently to discreetly dap or wipe (no ear to ear swiping. Q: Which fork is for what? A: Always use your silverware from the outside in. bread and butter plate. please) your mouth. Usually no more than three utensils are placed on each side of the place setting. If you need to leave the table. with the fold toward you. There may be a third fork outside the salad fork for appetizers. then sit. So if you have two forks. Do this discreetly without flourish. The purpose of the napkins is to keep food off your face. and drinks are mine? A: Your salad plate and bread and butter plate are on your left. Q: Is it okay to sit with my legs crossed? A: You should not push your chair back and cross your legs until the meal is completely finished. Crossing your legs during the meal can cause you to slouch. Your beverages are on the right above your spoon. sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor or cross your legs at the ankle. folded. Q: Which salad plate. not wadded and not stuffed between your legs. and this is always more important than the function of eating. You could be critically scrutinized on your table manners and conduct. the outside fork is for salad and the fork closest to the plate is for your main course.FAQ about Dining Etiquette Q: Why are meals part of interviews? A: Employers may want to see you in a more social situation to see how you conduct yourself. During the meal. above your fork.) Q: What do I do with my napkin? A: As soon as everyone is seated. don't play with your utensils or make them a topic of conversation. Q: Who should sit down first? A: You should wait for your interviewer/host to ask you to sit down before taking your seat. (When you are seated. particularly if the job for which you are interviewing requires a certain standard of conduct with clients and superiors. The silverware will be removed as you finish each course. folded loosely (NEVER wadded). On a practical level. and the employer is acting as a gracious host to provide you with meals. The meal is a time to visit and interact. liquids on the right. If he/she doesn't ask you to sit. it is placed above the plate and is usually for dessert and/or for coffee to be served with dessert. Q: How do you wipe your mouth with the napkin? Is it considered poor etiquette to wipe one's mouth with the napkin? A: It is considered poor etiquette NOT to use your napkin. Remember: Solids on the left. Replace the napkin on your lap loosely folded. unfold your napkin and place it across your lap. If a fourth utensil is needed. wait for him/her to be seated. place your napkin on your chair. interviews that last for several hours may extend through mealtimes. Only after the meal is over should you place your napkin on the table to the left side of your plate (NEVER on your plate!).
It is best not to order alcohol even if the interviewer does. One glass of wine. You want to remain sharp and responsive. . If you are unable to retrieve the napkin without drawing attention to yourself. may be acceptable.) The host/hostess may ask you to start eating and you should comply with the request. and leave the paper waste at the side of the plate. and apologize for any inconvenience. Do not help yourself to the bread basket and other communal foods until your host has indicated you may do so. when your host picks up his/her fork. and make an attempt to taste unfamiliar foods." or "I'm not accustomed to this flavor. but never point out errors of others. but I'm glad for the opportunity to try this. Be discreet and pleasant if you are asked why you are not eating. you can let your host know ahead of time that you cannot eat a certain food. If you pick up the bread basket. and it would be an obvious untruth to say you do. Know your own limits. ask the server for another one. Q: What do you do if your host/hostess uses the wrong utensil? Do you follow his/her lead? A: You should eat correctly. it is appropriate to sip your water after everyone is seated and after you have placed your napkin in your lap. If you don't know how to eat a certain food. Again. Q: Is it rude or wrong to use multiple packets of sugar/sweetener in tea or coffee? A: Limit yourself to one or two packets of sugar. this is an indicator that you may do so. juice. and do not eat until your host/hostess has begun. or iced tea are safe choices. say something gracious like. For other beverages and foods. retrieve it. follow the lead of your host. Q: What should I order to drink? A: Water. and then pass the basket to the person on your right. Be pleasant about your request. Q: What do you do if the menu is fixed and you are served something you do not want? A: Be polite and appreciative. hold the basket and offer to the person to your left. In a restaurant where you are ordering from the menu. Tear one or both at the same time ¾ of the way at the top of the packet. wait until everyone has been served. Never criticize or state a dislike for a food that is served to you (something we all should have learned by age 5). Q: When is it okay to begin drinking and eating? Does one wait until the host/hostess starts eating his/her meal at a restaurant? A: If water is on the table as you are seated. If food you cannot eat is served to you at a meal. simply leave it. and other condiments that are passed. This allows your host to make arrangements for you. Q: What is an appropriate way to explain a food allergy? A: Refrain from talking about health during meals and in business situations. be pleasant and don't call attention to yourself or make this a topic of conversation. sipped slowly.Q: What do you do if you drop your napkin on the floor? A: If your napkin falls on the floor and it is within easy reach. Using more than two packets of sugar or artificial sweetener may be seen as excessive. Do not consume alcoholic beverages if you are under 21 years of age! Coffee or hot tea after the meal is okay if this is offered and if time allows. Simply eat foods you do like. "It's different. If you know the menu in advance. If you are asked point blank if you like something." The job for which you are interviewing may involve business travel and dining in other other cultures than your own. This is insulting to your host. salad dressings. (Same applies to butter. then serve yourself. You could be evaluated for you grace in such situations. you can explain any allergies discreetly to your server.
it's fine to eat it in two bites. If it's a major mistake. A large. or you received the wrong side dish — ignore it. for example. Q: How should soup be consumed? A: Dip your spoon away from yourself to fill your spoon with soup. huge deli sandwiches. lift the salad dressing bowl off the service plate and pass the bowl by itself. broccoli. don't slice and dice the entire salad at once. one bite at a time. butter and salad dressings passed? A: When your host indicates ("Please help yourself to bread. If the piece you break off is slightly too big to make one bite. never to your mouth. You can initiate asking your host questions so that the conversation is more balanced and you have more time to eat. Always include the service plate in passing. It is appropriate to break off a bite-sized piece of your roll. It is preferable to cut large salad pieces than to attempt to stuff large bites of food in your mouth. When a service plate under the soup bowl is provided. the person closest takes the service plate/basket. don't. Never speak with food in your mouth. Q: How are things like the bread basket. Fussing over food can make you look childish. and gassy foods like beans. Sometimes you may not have a choice. and much better than stuffing a too-large bite into your mouth. always place your spoon on the service plate behind the . Q: Is it okay to spread butter on my entire roll at one time? A: No. If you'd like it. offers it to the person on his left. Q: What is appropriate to order for dinner? A: Simple foods that are easily eaten with a fork and knife (meats. not directly on your bread. so you can quickly finish and swallow the bite before speaking. Q: Is it best to avoid ordering a food if you can't pronounce its name? A: No. and point to it on the menu. If the error is small — you didn't want tomatoes. Your goal is to appear gracious. Q: How do I eat and answer questions at the same time? A: By taking very small bites. You may not have much time to eat if you are being asked a lot of questions. helps himself. finicky and concerned with the wrong things (not assets in a job candidate). Butter should be placed on your bread and butter plate. you can discreetly mention this to the server immediately so that it can be corrected. remember that the main point of the meal is to interact and eating is secondary. Don't touch other people's food. hurridlyeaten meal can make you drowsy and uncomfortable. Don't eat too quickly. Follow your host's lead.Q: What if I order from the menu but am served the wrong thing. greasy hand held items like pizza. but they are served to you. simple salads and soups). and passes to the person on his right. and don't attempt to hurridly scarf down all your food." or something similar). and never use your used utensils to obtain food from a service plate. Rest your spoon periodically. or cauliflower. Cut a few bites at a time. ask the server to describe the food. Avoid spaghetti or other things with red sauce. Foods should go from the service plate to your plate. Q: Is it okay to cut your salad if the lettuce pieces are too large? A: Yes. butter it and eat it. a disadvantage if you have interviewing after the meal.
Don't over season. knife blade toward you) indicates you are finished. Q: Is it rude to season your food before tasting it? A: Yes. Ten and four o'clock (handles at four. Try a bite first. move it. Q: Do you announce to the table if you need to be excused? What is the appropriate way? A: You can excuse yourself from the table by saying. In any case. Three o'clock to center (handles at three) indicated you are not finished. . try to scoop and spear in the same action. obviously you rest your spoon in the soup bowl. You can discreetly remove it. eat around it. and you're not. Obviously if there is no service plate. Used utensils are never placed on the table. You should not salt and pepper your food before tasting it. If the nametag is in your way. Q: How does one indicate having finished an appetizer or soup? Should the fork or spoon be placed in or out of the bowl? A: When a service plate is used under the food vessel. This is an insult to the chef. If you must leave during the meal. or any other meat with a bone. Q: If you are wearing a nametag and are having problems with it. even if someone asks for salt only? A: Yes. don't lag behind the rest of the diners. then season if necessary. if everyone else is finished. Q: What do you do if there is a hair in the food? A: You have a few choices if you find hair in the food. Do not jab at your food. eat with a utensil rather than with your fingers.bowl. Sip quietly. is not finger food. simply lift your utensil as though you are in the process of eating. you can indicate whether you are finished eating through proper placement of your utensils. you should use the knife and fork. Q: Do you always pass the salt with the pepper. Your utensil always rests with the handle to your right. even those foods (like french fries) that you may eat by hand at home. do not cause a scene and do not spoil the appetites of others at the table. It is also considered rude to use it first before passing it to the person who asked for it. Never place a used utensil on the table. you should use utensils! Chicken. If no service plate is provided. rest your utensil in the food vessel. always rest your utensil on the service plate behind the food vessel. simply leave the remaining food. this can appear childish. Q: Should one go out of his/her way to use utensils when he/she is eating finger food? A: When in doubt. what is the appropriate course of action? A: If the nametag is not sticky and keeps falling off on the table or on the floor. To finish the last bit of soup. you may slightly tip your bowl to fill your spoon. However. remove it. or politely ask the server to bring you another plate. If plates are being cleared and you are not finished. If something is served on a plate. always pass the salt and the pepper together. Q: Is it better to spear or scoop food? A: Scooping or spearing depends on the type of the food. "Excuse me". you do not need to offer an explanation. Do not rest utensils or utensil handles on the table.
No grooming of any kind should be done at the table. Wait until you get the server's attention and discreetly ask for a new utensil. If it is unbelievably hot. Q: What is the correct response to someone accidentally sneezing on the table (near the food)? A: Respond by saying "Bless you. Q: Is it okay to lick your fork/spoon before putting it down? A: Absolutely not. should all men get up too? A: Yes. You should excuse yourself for this purpose. so do not put more food on your utensil than you can place in your mouth with one bite. don't eat it. blade facing toward you. men should rise when a lady leaves the table. Q: Where do you place the knife when you are eating? A: Put the knife across the top of your plate when you are eating. keep yours on. If the host keeps on his/her jacket. Remove all food from your utensil when you remove the utensil from your mouth. Q: What if your dinner fork falls on the floor and you cannot get the server's attention? A: Do not reach pick up dropped utensils. but don't make an announcement about it. Q: What do you do with your soup spoon when you are momentarily not eating? A: When you are resting. be discreetly on the . Q: Is it appropriate to put eye drops (for contact lenses) in my eyes at the table? A: Absolutely not." and continue with your meal. If the matter is not urgent. wait until the server checks at the table to make sure everything is okay. should you finish completely or just quit when everyone else is finished? A: Try to stay with the pace of the meal so that you don't hold up the remaining courses. Keep in mind that some restaurants/clubs require customers to keep their jackets on during meals. Q: How do I call the server if I need him/her? A: You can usually catch her/his eye. If you are lagging behind. This applies to both men and women. It is not necessary to completely stand for a temporary departure.Q: If a lady were to get up during the meal. Simply rise off the seat to acknowledge her leaving. Q: Is it ever OK to remove your jacket for heat or other reasons? Is it appropriate to ask? Does this differ for males and females? A: As a general rule. follow the lead of the host before removing your jacket. Q: If you are a slow eater. don't make them wait on you too long. place the soup spoon on the service plate. Do not take partial bites off a utensil. but if not. it is appropriate to ask the host's/hostess' permission. when the others are done eating. you may ask a nearby server. or leave it in the bowl if there is not a service plate. place the spoon on the service plate. If the person sneezed on your meal. When you are finished.
it should come out with your fork and likewise with your hands. you may not want to cause him or her any embarrassment. Q: What do you do if a piece of food falls off your plate? A: If the food falls on the floor. Otherwise.) that it went in. Remember the meal is not the main purpose for your being there. etc. Don't make a fuss. Q: What do you say when you really don't like your meal and someone asks. Avoid getting up from the table to hunt someone down. Q: What do I do when I don't want to swallow something I already have in my mouth (such as an olive pit or a piece of gristle)? A: If it went in with your fork. No one should notice you doing this. "How is your meal?" A: Be polite and say. Toothpicks should be used discreetly and in private. Do not bring it to the attention of everyone at the table and do not embarrass the person. Any time something needs to be removed from your mouth. spoon. so you won't be caught with your mouth full. and place it on the rim of your plate. Q: How do you let someone know he/she has something in his/her teeth? A: Be subtle and quiet. use your fork and move it to a corner of your plate. onions on a salad) A: Discreetly eat around the food and/or move it carefully to the side of the plate or bowl. so let it go! Q: What if I get something stuck in my teeth? A: Try to remove the lodged item with your tongue. If this does not work. Q: How do you avoid eating a certain food? (For example." Q: Is it OK to rest your wrists on the edge of the table in between bites? A: Yes. If the food falls on the table and it is a big piece. If it is someone of importance. Q: What do I do if I have a bone in my mouth? A: If you have a bone in your mouth. it is all right to rest your wrists on the edge of the table or place your hands in your lap. Move it to your tongue and onto the fork and deposit it on the rim of your plate. thank you. excuse yourself from the table and go to the restroom.lookout for him/her to do so. "Fine. However. fingers. It's a good idea to go to the restroom after the meal to check your teeth and freshen up. remove it unobtrusively with your fork. if it is not edible. Q: What should I do if my food is cold or doesn't taste good? A: If your food needs to be warmer but is not unbearable. never at the table. leave it and don't step on it. but no elbows on the table! . remove it be the same means (fork. politely call the server over and explain. because the fork to mouth motion is a common one made by anyone who is eating. and don't remove it from the plate. let it be. you should just eat it and not call the server over to avoid a scene.
choose a seat where you do not hit any other person's elbows. you are the guest and so the meal is paid for by the company. Be discreet . 3. just excuse yourself and go to the rest room. Never place or rest used utensils on the table. Q: What do I do when the check comes? A: Typically in an interview. Your host will most likely pick up the check so you won't have to deal with it. Q: Should you clean your plate in any particular way? (Push all uneaten food to one side?) A: You do not have to clean your plate. Q: What should I do if I feel sick during the dinner? A: If you really cannot make it through the dinner. is there anything one should do differently? A: If you are allowed to choose your seat. Return when you are feeling better or have the server explain that you are not feeling well. Do not push the remaining food around on the plate Q: What do I do to signal I am finished with my meal? A: Your silverware should be parallel to each other in the ten and four o'clock position (as on the face of a clock). Key Points to Remember: 1. It is polite to leave some food on your plate.Q: As a left-hander. Remember the purpose of the meal. Remember to thank your host for the meal at its conclusion. with handles at 4:00 and tops of the utensils at 10:00. Follow the lead of your host or hostess. 2. The knife blade points toward you.