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Business Majors Learn Proper Etiquette

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Business Majors Learn Proper Etiquette

By Meagan Cole

Career Services hosted a mock five-course dinner on February 20th educating the Roanoke College student body on proper etiquette. Although all majors were encouraged to attend, the event specifically appealed to the Business department as it was a Business Etiquette course. Those who did attend arrived in business attire; men wore suits and ties while women either wore pant suits or corporate dresses. Only then did the learning commence.

The primary lesson involved table settings. While there is a variety of ways to set a table, there are certain aspects that remain the same throughout. Often times, the saying “work your way in” is applicable when referring to the silverware, but that is not always the case. The soup spoon is often placed beside the entrée setting to the right while the salad precedes the fork for the entrée to the left of the plate. The napkin can also be placed either upon the entrée plate or the bread dish. Of course, it then needs to make its way to one’s lap after being seated.

Also, some portions double up. Soups and salads are often paired together on menus, but there is a clear separation of the two within a meal of this caliber. However, dessert can either be presented solo or come with a follow up sorbet dish to cleanse the palette, which requires two additional spoons rather than the usual one.

Drinking glasses are the same way. There is usually a total of three glasses to drink from. The first contains red wine for a red meat entrée, the second will hold white wine for the fish or dessert, and the last is the foremost to the person: water. In most upper-middle class restaurants, the multitude of alcohol related beverages will be decreased to a single glass, and, in even more common places, soft drinks, tea, or lemonade will be offered as a substitute.

Other forms of dinner etiquette include signaling the waiter. An open fork and knife position with the faces turned down to the plate at an angle let the waiter know the customer has yet to finish eating. If the fork is faced upward, placed to the side and parallel to the knife, the waiter will know to clear your plate for the next available course.

Finally, posture is key: shoulders back, knees facing forward for gentlemen, ankles crossed for the ladies, and elbows should never touch the table. Practice makes perfect on each individual piece, but all elements become habits worthy of Roanoke College’s motto—Classic for Tomorrow.