Cell Phone Etiquette in a Restaurant: Table Manners and Telephone Manners​

Cell phones make people constantly available. But there are times when a person should not be available. It is healthy to have personal boundaries regarding when to visit with a person, when to eat, and when to have a cell phone conversation.

Cell Phone Etiquette in Public

Restaurants, theaters, and libraries are just some of the public places that people do not wish to hear somebody else’s ringtone blasting at high decibels. It is distracting to the public to be surprised with noise and disturbance.

In public meeting places, a cell phone should be set on a low volume for the ringtone, or better yet set to vibrate. If a cell phone conversation must take place in a restaurant, kindly excuse yourself and have the conversation outside.

Friends, Cell Phones, and Restaurant Etiquette

It seems silly to make a point of going out to eat with friends, and then spending that time talking on a cell phone to somebody who isn’t there. It sends a message to present company that they are unimportant; an important person is on the other end of the cell phone. These people will feel hurt, angry, and wonder why the cell phone user bothered to come eat with them in the first place.

Waitress Etiquette

Pay attention to the waitress when she is reciting the specials. This is both polite and efficient. She has other tables of polite, attentive customers who would also like to know the specials.

When a customer takes a cell phone call during the recitation, the waitress knows he doesn’t care what the specials are, doesn’t care about the feelings of his dining companions, doesn’t care about people at other tables, and is a boor. The waitress has every right at that point to walk away because her table is not paying attention, and she has other tables that need service.

When a customer takes a call while people are ordering, it indicates that the table is not hungry enough to order and can wait. For a restaurant to run efficiently, a table’s order needs to be put in all at once. People who talk on cell phones instead of ordering show horrific disrespect for their hungry companions. The waitress has every right to walk away; do not expect her to wait for a phone conversation.

The customers at other tables should not have to wait for a cell phone conversation, either.

Cell Phone Manners in the Restaurant

  • When entering a restaurant for a meal, turn off the     cell phone. This is no different than turning off the cell phone when     going to the theater.

  • If for some reason it must be on, set it to vibrate.     This way it will not make a distracting and disturbing noise.

  • If it rings and must be answered, apologize for the     inconvenience and step outside to have the conversation.

  • Make the conversation as quick as possible, and get     back to the table.

  • Allow a close companion to order for you, if necessary.

Last but not least, pay attention to present companions; talk on the cell phone later.

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