A reader recently asked: Help! I was attending a business lunch today with my boss and our new clients. The waiter placed the basket of bread in front of me and I wasn’t sure which way to pass it. I found myself in an awkward pause as I was trying to figure out what to do. Thanks for the help. – Bryan.
Yes, it sometimes can be confusing. When something needs to be passed during a meal such as salt and pepper, sweetener, plates of food, breadbaskets, etc., always remember to pass the item to the right. A fun and easy way to remember this rule of thumb is to keep in mind the phrase “Right-of-way”. Taking the direction of “right” in the phrase literally for this situation, you can easily remember to keep the item traveling to the “right”. Another fun addition to the phrase, “if you pass it to the left, you will be left behind” … of course you won’t really be left behind, but it’s a fun way to remember the rule.
The rule does have an exception; if the person seated to your left, or across from you, asks for seconds – the most direct route possible is then preferred (short of tossing the item across the table).
If you would like to learn more about Business Etiquette and what to do during a business lunch, please join us for one of our workshops. Click here for dates and details.