The Nairobi Restaurant Week is taking place from the 28th of January to the 7th of February 2016. This is a great time to sample meals from a variety of restaurants and at the same time treat yourself after the tough month that has been January.

Here are a few things that I found out that you may also want to take into consideration when you plan to eat out at a restaurant.

  1. Be a great host

The general rule as a host is that you should make sure that your guests are well taken care of. So if you have a restaurant in mind make sure you have made reservations so that you do not keep your guest(s) waiting at the door. If it is a walk in restaurant then make sure you get there ahead of time to reserve a nice spot. There is nothing as annoying as sharing a table with other guests. Also it is a general rule that if you are the one who invited the person you should foot the bill.

2. Treat the waiters well

Just because you are paying for your meal does not give you an excuse to treat your waiter badly. Greet them, call them by name, ask for their recommendations on what to have. If it is a busy day just raising your hand and making eye contact should get their attention. If you are nice to them they will treat you well.

3.  Let your guest order first

If your guest is not sure of what to order step in and recommend meals they could try. Give suggestions in various price ranges so that your guest does not fear ordering and if you have done your homework you can somehow gauge how much you will spend.

4.  Know your table settings

You will most likely find a napkin on the table. The general rule is to unfold it and put it on your lap. Some restaurants will have the waiter do that for you. The part that has most people worried most of the time is the cutlery.  Start with utensils on the outside and work your way in as the meal goes on. You can also use the BMW formula to remember where things go- Your bread-and-butter plate is on the left, the meal is in the middle, and your water glass is on the right. Simple, right?

5.  The drinks

Let’s not kid ourselves. Most of us are not wine connoisseurs so to save yourself time and potential embarrassment and just ask the waiters what can go with the meal. The simple rule though is that red wine goes with red meat and white wine goes with white meat. If you request a bottle and you ask to taste it and don’t like it,you have to keep it. No one else will drink flat wine so keep it simple.

6.  Keep your table clear

Do not place your bag, keys, books and phone on the table. Most establishments nowadays have a hook under the table to hang your bag. A phone can be very distracting so ensure to put it away after you have instagramed your food. This will not only allow you to give your guest the attention they deserve  but will also allow space for the waiter to work without hindrance.

7.  May I taste yours?

If you are with someone you know and are comfortable with then they may not mind you eating from their plate. However the best way to do this is to pass a portion onto a side plate. By doing this you will avoid spilling or dropping something while reaching over for someone’s plate.

8.  Keep the food course balanced with your guest

This means if your guest orders an appetizer or dessert, you should follow suit. You don’t want to make your guest feel uncomfortable by eating a course alone.

9.  Mind your manners

Remember how your mother always said not to talk while eating?  Do as she said, kindly keep your mouth closed as you eat and pace yourself so that you do not end up choking. The napkin is there to help you dab at your mouth so that you wipe away sauce or food crumbs. If you must use your hands while eating ensure that when you are done use the napkin to at least wipe off the grease.

10. Leave a lasting impression

At the end of the meal, let your table look presentable without napkins all over the place or forks and knives on the table. When you are done fold the napkin and place it next to the plate and place your cutlery on the plate. As the host ask for the bill to be brought to you and if you really enjoyed your meal and service let your server know. If you can, leave a tip. It leaves a good impression on your guest and the next time you come by the staff will remember you.