Where Does the Soup Spoon Go?

Business Dining Etiquette Tips and Table Manners Advice Q & A

Q. What is the proper soup spoon etiquette when you’re done? Does it go in the bowl or on the plate?

Dear Terry, I know where to place my knife and fork when I’m finished with my main course but what about my soup course? I’ve seen some people leave the soup spoon in the bowl and some leave it on the plate, which is correct? I want to get it right and follow the proper dining etiquette rules.

-Sam Innastu in Vancouver

A. – Dear Sam

Ah, soup! I love soup. (BTW – The best soup I ever had was a wild mushroom soup at the Kilmorey Lodge, Waterton Lakes National Park, after a long hike. But I digress.) You are right, table manners are important. Knowing what do with your utensils not only shows that you’re sophisticated in business and social dining, it also signals to the wait staff whether you are resting or finished.

Soup spoon tips and advice:

Resting position

When you’re resting, the correct position for the spoon is to be placed in the bowl.

Finished position

If you’re done, the soup spoon is placed on the right side of the service (under) plate. That way when the staff takes it away there’s less chance of the spoon falling.

No service plate?

If you’re eating at a more casual restaurant and they don’t provide a service plate under the bowl, rather than placing the used spoon on the table, you would leave it in the bowl when you’re done.

Don’t make a mess

The underlying idea of soup spoon etiquette rules is to keep the linen clean. Don’t mess up the tablecloth or “No soup for you!” as the soup Nazi says. Whenever I think of soup, I’m always reminded of him. (Click here to see LOL video of the Seinfeld soup Nazi and his rules.) For more reasonable table manners rules, tips and advice you can also check out our online dining etiquette training video.

Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian Business Dining Etiquette Expert and soup lover.

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