international dining etiquette
Dining etiquette for making toasts. The most common toast is "cheers."
Dining etiquette for beginning to eat. Start eating only after the host says something like "Let's eat" or "Please begin!"
Dining etiquette for holding utensils. The knife remains in your right hand and your fork remains in the left throughout the meal. When the meal is finished, the knife and fork are laid parallel to each other across the right side of the plate. If you put both utensils down on the plate for any real length of time, it is a sign to the waitstaff that you are finished, and your plate may be taken away from you.
Dining etiquette for using your hands. When not holding utensils, your hands are expected to be in your lap.
Dining etiquette for seating. At formal meals, the most honored position is at the head of the table, with the most important guest seated immediately to the right of the host (women to the right of the host, and men to the right of the hostess). If there is a hosting couple, one will usually be seated at each end of the table.
Dining etiquette for discussing business. The business lunch (more common than dinner) and dinner are very acceptable, but, depending on how well developed your relationship is with your Jamaican colleagues, may or may not be the time to make business decisions. Take your cue from your Jamaican associates: if they bring up business, then it's okay to discuss it.
Dining etiquette for eating in a home. It is considered bad form to leave the table at any time. If it is a formal meal, allow more senior members of your party to enter the room ahead of you. Men move aside to allow women to enter the room ahead of them.
Dining etiquette for paying the bill. Usually the one who does the inviting pays the bill, although the guest is expected to make an effort to pay. Sometimes other circumstances determine who pays (such as rank).
Dining etiquette for tipping. A 10 percent tip is usually sufficient in restaurants. Restaurants usually have the 10 percent tip included in the bill.
- Mike Lininger, Editor, Etiquette Scholar
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