A New Year – A New Start – Dining Etiquette Series

New Year’s Resolution: Perfect Your Dining Etiquette



To start out the New Year, in a series of posts I’ll be addressing a subject that is essential to the success of every professional – dining etiquette.  In fact, this is such an important topic and of great interest to students and young professionals that in 2013 I will be concentrating on this topic, as well as networking techniques, in my PROWESS Workshops

The business lunch and dinner is often referred to as “the million dollar meal.”  And no one is talking about Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon, Mario Batali’s Bucatini all’Amatriciana,or Aunt May’s incomparable chicken & dumplings!  They’re referring to the deal that is won or lost over a business lunch or other dining occasion.  Moreover, as employers increasingly are including a dining event as part of the interview process, the million dollar meal also refers to a job won or lost over a meal.  The clincher is that when deals and jobs are discussed over a meal, the outcome often depends on the table manners of the professional or candidate!  

Because table manners are crucial to conducting business in all industries, interviewers are keen to evaluate a candidate’s dining skills to determine whether he or she will be able to conduct himself or herself properly with clients and other important business associates.  Cases have been cited of candidates losing job opportunities, or professionals losing clients, simply by failing to demonstrate proper table manners.

“Nothing irks your boss more than displaying poor table manners during a luncheon meeting with a client. It’s embarrassing and it reflects poorly on the quality of people at your company,” claims John Putzier, author, HR specialist and former recruiter.

Another form of business dining in which prospective employers and clients can evaluate your dining etiquette prowess or lack thereof is the networking event, which often includes a buffet dinner and cocktails.

Through this blog and my Workshops, I hope to help you to eliminate the worry of interview, business and networking dining situations by helping you to master the ins and outs of the million dollar meal!

Following is a sampling of the topics I’ll cover weekly in the coming months:

  • Invitations to Dining Events- How and When to Respond
  • Decoding Invitation Dress Codes
  • When to Arrive
  • Host and Guest Responsibilities
  • Napkin Protocol
  • All Those Forks, Knives & Spoons, Etc., Simplified
  • Bread & Butter Basics
  • Glassware Deconstructed
  • Salt & Pepper – The Pair That Is Never Separated
  • American & Continental Styles of Eating
  • Elbow Protocol
  • Passing and Serving
  • Diner – Wait Staff Partnership
  • Finger Foods
  • Difficult Foods How-To’s
  • When You Are The Host – Entertaining The Client
  • Dinner Conversation and Small Talk
  • Managing The Buffet and Cocktails
  • What’s The Worst That Can Happen?  I’ll Tell You!
  • Follow Up

Later on, I’ll focus networking, resumes, interviews and protocol in the workplace to help you on your way to your brilliant and successful career.  And, I’m very interested to know what’s on your mind, and to receive your comments and questions!

I’m looking foward to meeting you back here next Tuesday to continue our journey together.

Until next time,



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