Etiquette. Where to Place Your Cutlery When You’re Done Eating

You’re out to dinner, you’ve finished your meal, now what?  According to etiquette, where do you put your cutlery when you’re done eating?  You have two proper options and here they are.

Picture it.  You’re out for dinner and you’ve finished with your meal.  You’re done.  At home, you’d simply stand up and wander away from the table knowing full well the dish would disappear, get clean and be returned to the cupboard at some point in the evening.

That’s how it worked for my father anyway.

But in restaurants they like non-verbal clues.  Indications that they can take your dirty plate away.  A sign language of sorts.  The waiter or waitress reads the secret code spelled out through your dirty utensils and napkin.

If the waiter doesn’t happen to see  you licking your plate (which is the International sign of “Yup … thems was good eatin’.  I’m done!“) how are they supposed to know if you’re finished eating?

They know by where you’ve placed your cutlery.  Honestly, they do.

Where do you put your cutlery when you’ve finished eating?


Here ...



or here.


The knife and fork go either straight up and down in the centre of the plate with the handles resting on the rim, or pointing between 10 and 4 o’clock.  In each case the tines of the fork should be facing up, and the knife edge pointing in.

Your napkin should be half heartedly folded to the left of your plate.

Do NOT rest the cutlery on the table.

Do NOT cross the cutlery over each other in an X.

Do NOT put your napkin on your plate.

Do NOT perfectly refold your napkin.

Do NOT put your napkin on your chair.

Do NOT fold your napkin into the shape of a swan or a dead chicken and then leave the restaurant wearing it as a hat.

You are now fully prepared to attend the Royal Wedding.  Have fun.

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Etiquette. Where to Place Your Cutlery When You’re Done Eating