The Fort Bend Foodie 04/02/14
Restaurant Etiquette: The Importance of the Napkin
The napkin not only serves to protect your lap against falling food, it is also a key indicator to the people around you as to what to do next.
In a restaurant the napkin could be thought of as a flag similar to the one used in sporting events….when to start, when to stop, when to just wait. To avoid sending mixed signals, here is the skinny on the messages your napkin is sending.
The napkin should be placed in your lap in the “quiet” position as soon as you sit down to a table. A small napkin should be completely un-folded, a large napkin folded in half lengthwise before placing on your lap. It should be used occasionally for wiping your lips or fingers and placed neatly back on your lap until you’re finished eating.
To some, placing a soiled napkin on a table in mid meal is rude and un-sanitary. For that reason, the napkin should never be used to clean up spills or as a handkerchief. If the napkin falls on the floor it should not be touched again and a replacement asked for. Once the napkin is placed back on the table it begins to send messages. If you have to leave the table for any reason and plan to come back, place your napkin in your chair or on either side of your plate.
When finished eating, tidily fold, never wad, the napkin and place to the left of the plate with the used eating utensils across the plate in a 10:20 position. This signals the wait staff to remove the empty plates. Once eating utensils are used, they should never touch the tablecloth again.
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