Have you ever wished you had a way to communicate with your restaurant server without saying a word? Though your server cannot read your mind when it comes to ordering from the menu, a well-trained server can understand when you are still working on your food or want your plate removed.
The secret to getting great service and eliminating guesswork for your server is to understand how to place your cutlery. Specifically, you can let your knife and fork do all the talking on your behalf. You just have to pick an American or Continental style of getting your server’s attention to make life easier in even a busy restaurant.
American Versus Continental Style Etiquette
As a quick side note, using cutlery to signify your intent to a server happens all over the globe. However, most eatery etiquette falls into either the American or Continental style.
Neither style is preferred, particularly in the United States at a well-regarded seafood restaurant like USS Nemo. Just choose whichever one suits you and stick with it whenever you dine at a place offering table service.
Signals to Let a Server Know You Are Still Eating
Pretend you are seated at your favorite busy restaurant. You get carried away by the conversation and realize you are eating slowly. This is great for your digestion, but you want to avoid having your plate taken away prematurely.
You have a couple of ways to tell any server you are still eating. The American way would be to imagine your plate is the face of a clock and place your fork at around the four o’clock position. The tines of the fork should point to about the 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock position. You would next rest your knife with the blade facing downward across the top of the plate.
If you prefer the Continental way of indicating you are interested in keeping your plate, place the knife in the four o’clock position. Then, place the fork in the seven o’clock or eight o’clock position. Make sure the tips of the knife and fork cross slightly.
Signals to Let a Server Know You Want Your Plate Taken Away
Whether your plate is empty or looks only moderately touched, you may be ready to move onto after-dinner drinks, dessert or relaxing with your dining companions. Rather than trying to make eye contact with your server, trust in American or Continental signals once again.
American dining rules suggest you place your knife and fork alongside each other at either the four-o’clock or six o’clock position pointed toward the head of the plate. If you prefer Continental signals, make sure the fork’s tines are facing downward.
Do All Servers Understand Dinner Etiquette and Manners?
Most servers who work in the restaurant business for any length of time learn how to “read” diners’ plates. Therefore, you can feel fairly comfortable using your cutlery as a way to get your point across at just about any establishment you visit on a regular basis.
Looking for a lovely spot for seafood in a family-friendly ambiance in Florida? Visit USS Nemo. When you are ready to move on to incredible desserts, you now know how to get your server to remove your plate without any eye contact needed.
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"With its subtle submarine motif and obvious seafood obsession, USS Nemo (239-261-6366) is among the most original restaurants on the Naples dining scene these days, and it has the fan base to prove it."
Chelle Koster Walton
"The miso broiled sea bass with citrus-ginger butter sauce is almost worth a trip to Naples in and of itself."
The New York Times
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