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It's good to talk (with a mouthful?)
It’s one thing for restaurants to have to put up with rude or awkward customers, but if a new survey is anything to go by, many might be forgiven for thinking table manners are going out of fashion too. All those years your parents and grandparents spent trying to encourage and drum in good table behaviour are apparently being replaced by new meal-time etiquette.
Well so say the findings by plant-based food brand Vivera, who conducted a survey of 1500 people aged between 18-40.
Perhaps the most surprising result was that around 50% of respondents thought it acceptable to talk with a mouthful. Indeed, talking about food, and eating it with your hands, rather than a knife and fork was said by some to be part of the fun. If that’s the case you would think that napkins and serviettes would take on extra importance but no, 22% had no qualms about getting messy when eating.
Nearly half also thought nothing of starting their meal without waiting for others. Is that a sign though, of standards slipping, or simply a reflection that everyone today seems to be in such a rush?
That would probably also explain why for many, the traditional family meal gatherings are happening less – though for the same reason one might argue that such get-togethers become more important. If all your family does turn up at the same time, then you might have to accept that younger members of the family may just get up and leave the table when they feel like it: two in five according to the survey.
It's by no means a case that ‘anything goes’ though. Traditional table manners are being replaced with new ones, like not allowing your children to run wild in a restaurant and washing your hands before meals. More than half would not use mobile phones (54%) or vapes (60%) at the table.
For any catering establishment, trying to create the right environment and table service for customers, it adds up to a modern manners minefield - and food for thought for the rest of us.