Going out with friends or clients soon? It’s important to brush up on your etiquette. Not sure what is proper and what’s not? Check out these 7 rules for dining out and brush up on your table presence! You’ll be glad you did.

best burger join in New York1. Have The Same Amount of Courses
If members of your party are ordering appetizers, soups, or salads, order one as well. It’s polite and will keep the meal more evenly paced. Order a light salad if others are ordering in addition to their main course. You’ll have something to eat as well and they won’t feel awkward munching as you wait for your entree.

2. Eat and Drink In Moderation
The purpose of the outing is mainly to socialize with friends and clients, not to fill your stomach. When it comes to dining out, do not stuff yourself or order too much! This is particularly true when it comes to drinks. Try to err on the side of moderation. It’s only polite!

3. Wait For Everyone To Be Served Before Eating
It’s common etiquette to wait for others to be served before eating. However, if you’re in a group that is relatively large, if six people in the group have been served, it’s fine to begin eating. It’s all relative.

4. Pick Up The Check
If you are the one inviting someone out, or want to land a client, pick up the check. If you were invited out, it’s all right to let them pick it up. When you’re dining with friends, this rule goes out the window. You can either offer to cover the check, or wait for them to offer (although that isn’t good etiquette!). Or you can offer to split it or pay for what you got. This works with friends, but will seem tacky when on a business outing.

5. Know Send Back Etiquette
What is the etiquette when a dining companion sends back a meal? Well, the normal etiquette is to wait until they get their course back and then begin eating. You should not eat unless your companion asks you to please go ahead and eat. Even then, eat slowly, or better yet, engage in conversation instead of starting yourself. It may seem like a small gesture, but holding off on eating as well makes a positive impression that even money can’t buy.

6. Ditch the Phone
Even though phones have become ubiquitous, there’s no place for a phone at a dinner or lunch. It’s bad manners to have your phone out while with company. Turn your phone to vibrate if you must, but ideally, put it on silent. Stash your phone in your pocket or in your purse until the meal or meeting is finished. Do not text, call, answer your phone, or check anything on it. It comes off as rude– and that’s because it is.

7. Always Be Polite and Positive
Whether you’re with strangers or with friends, it’s important to be polite, positive, and courteous at all times. Be polite to the waiters who serve you, be polite to who you’re with, and keep the tone light and positive. Unless you’re expressly with friends, it’s not the time to gripe about this or that. Do not dominate the conversation and never interrupt! Keep things fun and jovial.

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