Etiquette expert William Hanson’s top tips on tackling dining-out dilemmas, from dividing the bill to giving children an iPad at the table
- In his book Help I Sexted My Boss, William Hanson offers lots of dining out tips
- He also tackles whether it’s OK to take pictures of your food at the table
- READ MORE: The items it’s acceptable to take from a hotel room
‘There’s nothing more pleasurable than enjoying a meal in a wonderful restaurant.’
So says etiquette expert William Hanson in his new book Help I Sexted My Boss – A Hilarious Guide To Avoiding Life’s Awkward Moments, co-authored by Jordan North.
But while eating out is one of life’s bonuses, Mr Hanson acknowledges that it comes with multiple dilemmas, from whether it’s OK to take pictures of your food to the quandary of whether children can be distracted by tablet devices to the conundrum of how bills should be split in group dining scenarios.
The tome offers plenty of tips for all these points and more. Read on for a sneak preview of the do’s, don’ts and definitely don’ts…
In his new book Help I Sexted My Boss, co-authored with Jordan North, William Hanson offers tips on the multiple dilemmas every diner faces when eating out, from how to split bills to whether it’s OK to give a tablet device to a child at the table
A post shared by William Hanson (@williamhansonetiquette)
Help! How long do we wait for a late arrival?
William writes in the book: ‘I would suggest waiting ten minutes for a late arrival then order drinks. Then, after 15 minutes, it’s fine to order food because time is ticking. You could also speed things up by sending a photograph of the menu to the person on their way.’
Help! How can I attract a server’s attention?
William says: ‘It’s all about body language and eye contact. So it’s about raising yourself up in the seat and extending your hand to the level of your eye – that should be enough to attract a well-trained server.’
Regarding bill-splitting, William says: ‘There’s nothing that ruins an evening more than maths’
Help! Should I take pictures of my food?
William says: ‘A hundred years ago people would say a little prayer. Now they take a photograph of their food. So the etiquette has slightly changed.’
Jordan adds: ‘I don’t mind it, just as long as they’re not doing it throughout the meal.’
William continues: ‘Obviously, restaurants love it because you put it on social media and tag the restaurant you’re in, so it’s free marketing. [But] it irritates me when people take a photo of their food, share it online and then spend the rest of the evening reading the messages that are coming through. You’re meant to be eating out with me, not on your phone.’
Help! Should kids be allowed iPads at the table?
William says: ‘The traditionalist in me doesn’t like the idea of a child holding an iPad at the table. Why can’t they still use a colouring-in book? But if you’re going to hand them a device to watch Peppa Pig on, please give them headphones. When the food arrives, that’s the time to put the iPads away.’
Help! Can I ask for a doggy bag?
William says: ‘It’s absolutely fine to take home any leftovers, but only if it is offered by the restaurant.’
Help! I Sexted My Boss by William Hanson and Jordan North is out now
Help! My friends don’t want to split the bill!
William says: ‘There’s nothing that ruins an evening more than maths. So, if a group of four friends go out, the worst thing that can happen is for someone to start picking at the bill and saying, “Your steak was £2.50 more expensive than my salad.” Well, tough! If money is that tight, don’t go out in the first place. If you’re in a group of four, you just divide by four.
‘Communication is key. So, when ordering, clarify: “Are we having two courses? Are we having three?”
‘All this “well I had this and you had that” nonsense is very irritating.’
Jordan adds: ‘I think the only time you can question whether you can split the bill is when it comes to booze. It’s OK to pipe up and say the non-drinkers shouldn’t have to pay for the drinks part of the bill.’
William adds: ‘Don’t choose the most expensive dish on the menu when you’re in a group. Pick something in the middle. If you desperately want the caviar-topped-burger, go back another day and try it then.’
Help! I Sexted My Boss by William Hanson and Jordan North is out now (£20/CAN $42.95), published by Penguin Random House. For more from Mr Hanson visit his TikTok and Instagram profiles.
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