Thursday, May 15, 2008

No Bread Tonight?

How many times have you been at a business lunch or dinner and the first question you heard, sometimes from a stranger who just happens to be sitting at your table, was “which plate is mine?” At that point the person is generally holding a piece of bread or basket of rolls in their hand, waving it around a bit.
Not the most impressive opening is it?

You never have to be the one to ask that question. Simply remember, BMW – Bread, Meal, Water (or Wine). That’s how the table setting is organized, left to right. For the bread, look left. Your bread plate will sit above the fork (or forks), on your left. Your wine or water will be above your knife on the right with the Meal, the plate in the middle.

And what happens when your neighbor doesn’t ask and just plunks a piece of bread on your bread plate? Nothing. Except you don’t have that beautiful roll to go with your meal because your bread plate is already taken. Harsh you say? Maybe. But how can you ask for your plate back without pointing out that your neighbor made an error didn’t know what to do?

The first rule when dining with others is to create a welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable. Pointing out an error, even one as small as using the wrong bread plate, isn’t going to make others feel at ease. Missing a bit of bread is a small sacrifice in order to avoid embarrassing someone.
No bread today? Disappointing but then your politeness may help you make a friend.

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