The Simple Etiquette Tip To Let Your Server Know You're Finished Eating

Restaurant etiquette mistakes aren't likely to ruin an amazing meal, but they can leave patrons feeling a little red in the face. And while there isn't as much focus on proper table etiquette these days, it does help diners to be aware of certain rules. For instance, how can you let the server know that you're finished with your food in a kind and respectful manner? It's possible to do so without verbally saying much. Simply place your knife and fork centered on top of the empty plate so they're aligned vertically to signal the server that you're finished with your meal.

There is one caveat to remember, however. While servers will often expediently clear your plate when given the proper sign, they may only do so if all the other guests have finished their course. If people are still eating, the waitstaff may refrain from removing your empty plate until everyone else is done. Keep in mind that this is most likely to occur in a high-end establishment. For casual restaurants, servers may clear plates as each person is finished.

What do other fork and knife configurations mean?

In the fast-paced restaurant industry, waitstaff must constantly be on their toes. Additionally, politeness and decorum are essential concepts, especially in countries like the U.S. where servers rely on gratuities to earn a living. Accordingly, there are other cutlery configurations diners can use to communicate with waitstaff quickly and politely. If you're dissatisfied with your meal, you can let the waitstaff know without causing unnecessary conflict or embarrassment. To do so, arrange the knife and fork in an upside-down V on the plate.

Make sure the blade of the knife is inserted through the tines of the fork, or you may be sending the server a completely different message. When fork and knife form an upside-down V but remain separate, with the handles off the plate, you're letting the server know you're taking a break from your meal. If you're pleased with the food and want to praise the restaurant for a job well done, align the knife and fork horizontally on the plate, so that the tips of the utensils are pointing to the right.

Etiquette faux pas all diners must avoid

There are many rude things customers do at restaurants that miff waitstaff, such as shaking a glass to signal that you'd like a refill on your drink. Similarly, patrons must never snap their fingers at servers when needing assistance. Instead, make eye contact with the server and politely raise your hand. Remember that restaurants can be hectic, so be patient if the server is busy with other customers and can't get to you right away.

Restaurant etiquette is especially crucial when dining with children. In this case, try to keep using smartphones and other electronic devices to a minimum, if they're used at all. Aside from disrupting family bonding time, other patrons will be disturbed if kids watch videos with the sound on. If your child makes a mess while eating, emphasize the importance of cleaning up after themselves if they're an appropriate age to do so. For younger children, be sure to clean up any messes they make. These straightforward tips avoid raising the ire of your server and ensure everyone is treated respectfully.