The Language of a Diner

The Language of a Diner

 By Haydé Escalante

Many of us are unaware that there is a special language used in the restaurant industry. It is based on the position of the silverware once a person is finished with their dish. Today it is no longer used as much as in the past but I think it’s time to revive it.
We can communicate our opinion of the dish  or the language of a diner we just finished and when we are ready for our next course through the use of these international signs:

This position shows that you have not finished your dish and are just taking a pause. The fork and knife are placed with the tips touching to form a 90° angle or point.


This signal, with the silverware forming a cross, lets your server know you are ready for the next course.


Placing the fork and knife parallel to one another and perpendicular to the edge of the table shows that you are finished and do not wish to share any comments about the dish. Doing so is not considered discourteous or rude.


This position, with the fork and knife parallel to one another on the side of the dish tells your server that you are finished and the dish was delicious.


By placing your silverware in the shape of an intersecting cross, you make the server understand that you are finished and that the food was not to your liking. Some experts state that leaving the fork and knife in a 90° angle but positioning the tip of the knife between the tines of the fork has the same meaning.


The next time you visit a gourmet restaurant and find yourself with no desire for more, share your opinion with this simple sign and let the server know about your experience at the establishment without saying a word. Believe me, your opinion is of great value and allows the service to be improved.
Try using these signals and let us know how it goes!

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