Why dining etiquette matters
Our table manners can make a strong impression on other people, so good manners are essential social skills. Whether dining with friends, family, colleagues or on a date, mastering the basics of dining etiquette can easily impress, whilst poor table habits could have the opposite effect.
With only 11% of Brits admitting to feeling completely confident when it comes to trying new types of cuisine due to fears around mastering the appropriate dining etiquette, I’ve pulled together an easy-to-follow guide to help equip diners with the etiquette know-how to feel comfortable in all dining scenarios.
British table settings decoded
It can feel overwhelming when faced with lots of different sets of cutlery, which perhaps explains why the research found that six in 10 Brits don’t know how to correctly lay a dinner table. There is, however, an easy logic to laying and navigating the table:
- Knives go to the right, and forks to the left.
- Cutlery is used from the outside inwards, so starter cutlery is placed on the outside and main course cutlery on the inside.
- If soup is being served as a starter, then the soup spoon is placed to the right and outside of the main course knife.
- Dessert cutlery is generally positioned across the top of the place setting, with the bowl of the spoon pointing to the left and the tines of the fork to the right (unless at a formal banquet or dining with the Queen, when pudding spoons and forks are placed innermost to the knives and forks).
- Side plates go to the left of the forks, usually with a butter knife and napkin.
- Wine and water glasses go to the top right of the setting.