Do your table manners reveal what type of employee you are?

eating at restaurant

I had a hard time digesting this topic (no pun intended). And it’s not because this is some outrageous question with an indefinite answer. But because my opinion lies on both sides, and I don’t know which to choose.

I recently read an article, Don’t hire anyone until you take them to lunchby Shannon Brayton. And in this article, Brayton explained that your behavior at the table, how you order your meal and the way you interact with restaurant staff subtly reveals what type of person you are and how you would perform at work. She mentions the following:

  • “If they’re polite and treat the wait staff with respect, you can intuit that the person is likely to be a good manager and not someone who gets hung up on hierarchy.”
  • “If someone is unable to decide between the Caesar salad and the fish tacos, they’re likely to struggle prioritizing during, say, budget allocations.”
  • “Whatever behaviors you spot during breakfast or lunch are likely to pop up again in other settings.”

While I do believe that your table manners reveal your character (or lack thereof), I’m still unsure about whether or not that behavior will bleed into your workplace. No doubt, if you’re extremely rude and beyond dysfunctional at a restaurant, then of course I wouldn’t want you anywhere near my work files. But my inability to choose if I want extra Parmesan cheese should not disqualify me as a key decision-maker on the job.

And would if I was just having a bad day? There’s too many variables in a situation like this. In reality, everyone has multiple personalities. And no, I don’t mean that in a creepy, psychotic way. But what I mean is…you’re not the same person as you are around your mom, around your friends or around your colleagues. How I choose to live my life at home will not always reflect how well I do my job. And for good reason! You’re on your best behavior at work, not at home.

Returning back to the point…due to my inability to form an opinion, I decided to do my own comparison. With the help of a few friends and my lovely boss (perfect timing because I JUST received my annual work review last week), I’m going to see if my eating habits match my work habits, and if the enchiladas I chose last week make me competent enough to hold a job.

My restaurant capabilities
According to my friends: I’m very punctual on restaurant dates. I always use a napkin and chew with my mouth closed. (I’ve even taught some of my friends how to properly use the napkin and which silverware to use for each course.) I’m very polite, and I always say “Please” and “Thank you.” I respect the waitstaff, even addressing them by name at times. I’m neither intimidating or hard to approach. I usually take charge, determining who all is eating, who’s taking care of the check, and how we’re splitting the tip. I have a pleasant attitude, but I do tend to be indecisive when it comes to choosing a meal. My difficulty to choose a plate never slows the process, but my passive aggressiveness towards the restaurant staff may prove to be a problem when having a prompt meal.

An ideal employee? Maybe?

My work abilities
According to my boss and other colleagues: I’m a fast worker with an eye for detail. I’m more receptive at my job, making me less likely to take on a dominant role, such as manager or director. I have a positive attitude, and I can get along with anyone. On a regular basis, I usually straggle into work a few minutes late…most of the time. I’m organized, and I usually do well with deadlines. However, there are times when I forget things or lack confidence in my skills.


Eh, more like an average employee. I’m not super skilled at my job, but I’m learning. And that’s understandable. At work, I’m the youngest in my department with the least amount of experience. It’s perfectly reasonable for me to fall into the background and do what I’m told. But in a restaurant, I’m the customer and for all intents and purposes, what I say, goes. I feel more confident at a restaurant because age and experience don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what food you’re craving at the time. So now, the new question becomes: To what extent do you consider a person’s eating habits when hiring a new employee and how heavy do these habits weigh on the decision-making process?

I’m not sure if this was the best analysis, but I’m hoping that I gave you something to think about. Try performing your own analysis like I did. What do you think about choosing job candidates based on their table manners? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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