Dining Etiquette and Table Manners [VIDEO]

by Brett & Kate McKay on October 25, 2013 · 14 Comments

in A Man's Life, On Etiquette, Visual Guides

It’s time for another installment of AoM Instructional Videos. In this video we take a look at the ins and outs of dining etiquette and table manners.

For more info on dining etiquette, make sure to check out the original article that inspired the video

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Video by Jordan Crowder

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul d'Aramitz October 26, 2013 at 5:43 am

Good video, though this topic is a topic that could easily have an entire book dedicated it.

In fact, I’d suggest anyone interested on understanding the finer nuances of dining, and hearing what is, in my opinion, the last word on the subect- I’d suggest checking out a copy of Debrett’s Guide to Modern Manners and Etiquette. It covers various other areas of savoir faire and such, though the section on dining etiquette is extensive, and will tell you everything you need to know.

As always, a great post from AoM!

2 Arthur Hovey October 26, 2013 at 8:50 am

You have my thanks, Brett & Kate, for the video. I’ve wondered before about eating olives with pits still in. I should think it is more polite to hold this finger food with the thumb and index finger, eating around the pit; not to place the entire olive in the mouth and spit the pit into a napkin. I’m curious to know which is more acceptable. Thanks again for all that you do, with every good wish. .

3 Jonny October 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

This video is a great guide to how dining should flow. Having spent quite a while working as a waiter in a hotel that regularly hosts weddings or other silver service meals, I have a few points to add.

First, that you should absolutely dig in once a few other people have been served. If you insist on waiting until the other 10-15 people on your table are served, it’s your fault that your food is cold, and the staff will not be sympathetic.

Second, learn which glass is which. if you fill your champagne flute with red wine, it makes everyone’s life difficult when its time for the toasts. (I’m not exaggerating, this kind of thing happened a lot.)

Finally, as the video says, when you put your knife and fork on your plate in the 4.20 position, your server will clear it, even if it still has uneaten food remaining. (especially if it’s largely untouched). If you want to leave your plate and have it still there when you get back, place your knife and fork with the heads at twelve o’clock and the handles at eight and four.

Additionally, please don’t get drunk, don’t be rude, and for the love of God, don’t spill red wine on the bride.

4 Heather October 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm


While I don’t have advice specifically for olives, the polite thing to do whenever you have anything in your mouth that you need to remove (a small, gristle, etc), is to discretely but matter-of-factly remove it with your fingers and place it on the edge of your plate. Don’t try to hide it in a napkin. Don’t try to swallow it. It happens, we all know it, so just take it out. The goal is not to look unpleasant to the other diners.

My honest opinion for olives is to just eat it and then remove the pit . Watching someone eat an olive like a small ear of corn would not be pleasant at all for the other people at your table.

5 Dan October 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

From what I know about table settings and can tell from the video, the animated finger points to the oyster fork as the salad fork, salad fork as the dinner fork, dinner fork as the desert fork, and skips over the desert fork at the top of the setting.

6 tim October 26, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Well done as always

7 Kory October 27, 2013 at 6:21 am

As far as the gift goes. Even if it isn’t opened say an extra bottle of wine if more than a few guests brought a bottle. Don’t take it with you when you leave! I had a guest do that and I was a little put out. If the host is going through the trouble and expense to make the meal have the courtesy to leave the “gift”.

8 Bellaisa October 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I have dated both guys at the table, and I can tell you that good table manners and dining etiquette are important for having a great night with your girlfriend/wife after you leave your host’s house too. That makes it doubly important…don’t you think?

9 Jake October 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm

“One sec, I’m on Instagram. My friends need to see this awesome dinner.”

Old habit hard to die. Unconsciously, people who held phone all the time will hold them all the time. I see their priority, the phone not the host.

10 St. Vital Kid November 1, 2013 at 9:21 am

The JAM Handy corporation and the folks who made all those great Coronet social hygiene films in the 50′s would be proud to know their influence lives on.

On a more serious note, my wife and I are trying to impress on our sons (ages 9 and 11) the importance of good table manners. We’re a family that places a very high value on dining together…unless work and conflicting extra-curricular schedules conspire against it.

One more thing that we’re trying to get our eleven year old to stop doing is starting to eat before you’ve taken some of each dish on the table. When he does this, it usually holds up the process of passing serving dishes along until everyone has everything.

I plan to show my kids this video this weekend! Thanks.

11 Alfred D. Beard November 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how many guys my age chew noisily. It’s disgusting to say the least. Smacking or “I don’t eat vegetables, it’s a texture thing” are two immediate indications that this person is a man-child whose parents failed him.

Also, men DO NOT use straws, unless they’re in the hospital.

12 Patrick November 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm

The ony exception I see here is the napkin. It has always been correct etiquette for a man to place the napkin in his collar to protect his tie and shirt (See Hercule Poirot). If I’m bringing the food to my mouth your damn right I’m going to protect that Italian Silk neckware. No tie is worth the stain.

13 Jesse November 23, 2013 at 12:23 am

At risk of wasting time I have skipped over this post multiple times and finally decided ‘let us see what it has to say.’ Wonderfully put together and absolutely hilarious throughout. I love the closing as well;

“it’s not twist off, is it. Doesn’t really work. I’m used to twist off.”

14 Deb December 7, 2013 at 9:26 am

Guys, I need your help. My boyfriend has good manners overall, however, could use some work in the table manners department. What is the best way for me to bring up this conversation with him without coming across as critical, judgmental or offensive? For example, picking food off my plate without first asking (Yes, we’re together, but this is very annoying to me). Also, recently when he was meeting a friend of mine for the first time, we went to a restaurant and ordered desserts. After placing orders, he announced to her that he was going to have to taste some of hers when it came. She offered each of us a taste when the food came, but later on he reached over again and took another bite off her plate. He also doesn’t wait for others before he starts eating and tends to load up his plate. Proper grooming and other gentlemanly habits are important to him, so his lack of table manners surprises and perplexes me, and is becoming embarrassing. He has mentioned to me before that he learned those gentlemanly ways from his mentors as a young adult and not from his dad growing up (if that helps you to have some background). Thanks in advance for your help, thoughts and suggestions!

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