Please Pass the Salt….(And Pepper)

Five Towns College Career Services hosts Dining at a Professional Event seminar.


By Sean Lanigan

On Tuesday, March 1st, Career Services hosted Dining at a Professional Event in The Downbeat to teach students dining etiquette in a fun and informational setting.


Krysti O’ Rourke, Career Services Director at Five Towns College, believes students should be prepared in all potential professional settings.

“In today’s world, a lot of business, a lot of job interviews, and a lot of meetings are done over a meal, so it’s important for the students to know what the rules are.  It’s completely different than dining out with family and friends,” said O’Rourke.



Some key pointers:

  1. When you leave the table, be sure to put the napkin on your chair. And when the meal is over, place the napkin on the right side of your dinner plate.
  2. Beverage glasses belong on the right side of the plate, and the bread and salad plates belong on the left.
  3. You may cut salad items if they seem to be too big.
  4. When you’re eating your meal, be aware of your body language- sit up straight and keep those elbows off the table.

Charlie Hinz, a Senior Jazz Commercial Music Performance Major, was amazed about everything he learned, saying, “A lot of information I learned, I didn’t even know was etiquette, such as just how many different forks, plates, and knives that there are; and learning that when someone asks me for the salt, I have to pass them the salt and the pepper.”

Often when dining amongst people you are friendly with, you may feel comfortable ordering food exactly how you want it, but when eating in a professional setting, you don’t want to be that person.  For example, unless you have food allergies, try to refrain from saying, “I’ll have a cheeseburger with onions, no tomatoes, no lettuce, but extra cheese and bacon, and don’t forget to put melted cheese on top of the french fries.”

Always remember to be polite.  You shouldn’t make negative comments about the food, and you should always treat the waitstaff with respect.  Remember, you are selling your image to people in the business world.

Now, what is proper etiquette when the meal is finished?   Don’t push your plate away from you, and never place a piece of silverware back on the table.

Jake Rieder, a Sophomore Jazz Commercial Music Major, was happy he took time out of his day to attend this event to learn dining etiquette from A to Z.  “I was surprised to learn that if you’re not the host, do not offer to pay for the bill because you were invited to eat in the business setting.  I always figured it was nice to offer to pay or at least pay for your own meal, but the host will cover that.”

With the host covering the bill, you don’t have to worry about your wallet but do remember all the other rules of dining in a business setting.  Bon appetit.