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Minding your mealtime manners

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Empty glasses set in restaurant

According to Warren Buffett, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. Have you ever been to a business luncheon or dinner and wondered if you are doing anything wrong in terms of etiquette? A few of us here have been in that same situation, so we invited Chef Jeff from Fox Valley Technical College to come give us a few tips. Here are a few reputation-saving tips I took away from our session:

  • Before the meal starts, make sure that your phone is on silent or vibrate and put away. Never have your phone or other personal items out on the table.
  • Next comes ordering, which can be pretty tricky. Your best bet is to follow the host’s lead. Try to find moderately priced menu selections and something that won’t make a mess.
  • One thing I struggle with is the silverware. How am I supposed to know which one of these forks to use? Work from the outside in, and you should be golden.
  • Once your food comes, wait to eat until everyone at your table is served.
  • Always ask for items to be passed instead of reaching for them.
  • Most importantly, do not chew with your mouth open.

Look at others around you and see what they are doing. You never want to try to be more formal than everyone else, or of course too informal. When you don’t know what to do, go with your gut feeling!

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