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Food Etiquette in the Workplace – Best Professional Guide


Food! The term food, who does not love food and being crazy to be foodie. There will be almost no person existing on the earth who will not love different food items.

When there is Punjabi, Italian, Continental, Mughlai, Chinese, South Indian and so many types of food sections, why will you not fall in love with all of them.

Meals are important part of our lives as well. No doubts, it depends how much mouth-watering food one has made in the menu.

But it also gives us energy which includes all necessary proteins, vitamins etc. Every food item, vegetables and fruits has their own specific etiquette at work

Meals play a very significant role in our daily routine. What we eat is really matters. Our diet should be a 3-course time meal, to be properly taken all 3 times being set for a normal human physique.

It makes little difficult when you are working and you cannot take each and every meal to your work place. Being diet conscious or being more foodie are the two types of people.

When you have to sit with your colleagues, you are more conscious about your diet chart and what food is to be taken to your office. Because you need to be sure of certain things and this should not put you in messy situation.

Maintaining professionalism and being foodies at the work place makes little difference. Food etiquette should be well preserved while you are at work.

No matters, how much your co-workers, colleagues or staff are comfortable with you but you should not leave your food eating etiquette aside and creates mess all over your desk area. Here is what you should try to avoid at most times when you are at your desk.

  • Avoid being crazy about food during office hours.
  • Non- veg foods to be avoided since many organizations don’t prefer that employees are bringing such food into office.
  • Desk area should be neat & clean.
  • Scattered papers seem like you are actually working hard but scattered sauces or ready to eat food like potato chips etc. shows how much an unorganized employee you are, who deals with work or with food.

When you enter into professional life, you start learning dealing with not only clients, colleagues or other project coordinators, but yes, also with basic organization etiquettes which first precisely include fundamental food eating manners as well. Here is some of the essential meal taking etiquette which you should follow during working hours.

23 Step Guide on Eating Etiquette at Work:

1. Workplace eating etiquettes:

workplace eating Etiquettes of eating starts with basic manners which means there are some customary things which you should follow while you are at work place. Likewise, should not swallow full mouth in front of others.

2. Checking of company’s protocol on food in the workplace:

Some organizations forbid having food at the desk, especially if you work with the public. Others could be more lenient.

Even if your company does allow food, you should avoid eating when you are interacting with the customers or clients or even when you are on the phone with them.

3. Do avoid having chaotic food at the workplace:

Sometimes it doesn’t matter to your boss or colleagues if you are craving for some quick snacks like potato chips, or sandwiches etc before start of any meeting or so.

If you eat at your desk, avoid messy foods such as pasta, macaroni, grilled stuff or similar – unless you want to present the report to your boss or clients with spaghetti sauces all over it.

4. Avoid having food on desk:

It doesn’t look good and professional if you are taking your meal at your office desk or in a cubicle or in board room. Whether you have your separate cubicle or so, you should not create homely atmosphere around.

5. Eating etiquettes when you are sitting with clients or colleagues:

Here, this is really important that you should understand not to have your daily meal or breakfast in front of your clients, co-workers or colleagues since it leaves bad impression as well as messy food creates untidiness all around.

6. Improving eating habits in front of customers:

eating at work If you are working in public relations department or in selling profession or a job where you have to interact and convince normal public for various things, then your food stuff should be kept aside or be hidden so that you cannot keep on having it after every half an hour break.

It looks pathetic if you are eating in front of customers especially since they are either bringing business to your company or in general way.

7. Avoid bringing strong smelled food:

Being a strong non-veg food lover, if you ate seafood the previous night and thought of taking the same next morning to office then it’s completely unfair to the people who are pure vegetarians and doesn’t even like to sit near by it.

You should be more careful not to sit with your fishes or chicken food with such persons in the office at meal time. Since fishes got an extra strong and smelly whiff so one should avoid taking it to the work places.

8. Preferring homely food:

Every organization has employees with different religions and castes. Some of them like Punjabi food and others may have different taste and different cooking styles.

Accordingly you should cook which is homemade and take the food to office which should be eco-friendly and tasteful as well, according to you.

9. Break room intermission:

Every organization has separate breaks rooms being made where you can have your stuff during 5 or 10 minute break.

It looks sensible when you especially go there to have tea, coffee and other eatable stuff there itself instead of scattering all things on your desk.

10. Never steal or mess up with others food:

Keeping an eye or take a bite from your colleague’s lunch is a bad habit and not at all gives a professional look.

While picking through another person’s food is really disgusting, and stealing other people’s food from your workplace refrigerator is pitiable too.

11. Offering of food to others:

offering food Of course it’s not civilized to eat in front of your colleagues or co-workers who are either starving or sitting nearby you. They might didn’t get time to get to the cafeteria or office kitchen.

If you have the time, you should ask if you can take hold of something for them or meanwhile offer yours.

12. Supplementary perceptible actions during lunch time:

Your colleagues, co-workers notice you more than when you are at your desk or cubicle.

Food etiquettes fetch immediate attraction that how you serve yourself, how you eat, everything gets noticed at one moment.

13. Uncluttered kitchen at workplace:

Since this is not a home, self-service is more required here. You should keep your space very neat & clean. Spots of sauces or spill of tea, coffees etc should be cleaned after you have had your stuff.

Kitchen at work place needs to be highly maintained because chances of getting it unhygienic are more due to number of people working at one place and using same utensils and other similar things.

14. Botheration of food smell:

When eating at your desk or in shared cubicle areas, avoid ordering foods with strong smells and the aromas of that food should not travel throughout the office area.

The great French fries, Chinese food, and Indian food makes uncomfortable to sit together in the same room. The attractive smell of these foods in office may help in turning the environment unpleasant.

Later on, should dispose off empty food wrappers and other items where they are not going to add negatively to the office atmosphere.

15. Official meetings or parties:

office party At various workplaces, office birthday parties and capturing moments of other similar celebrations are weekly/ monthly episodes. While the magnetism of cake is more tempting, you should maintain decorum of food etiquettes even as you celebrate more or more endlessly.

Don’t cut yourself oversized slices of cake or other served food and avoid taking a little extra for later. Taking your treats back to your desk should be avoided. Finish your food there only before you head back to the office or your desk.

16. Curtailing less whispering during interaction:

Do not eat while you are interacting with the staff members of your office or especially while listening to someone else present there.

Your full attention should be focused on the meeting agenda. No matter how loudly the chocolate sprayed cupcakes or chocolate biscuits are calling your name.

17. Not every business meeting takes place in an office or in boardrooms:

Some of the meetings may take place at the golf course club or at a good star hotel. Doing business meetings over a meal, or just dining with a client or colleague, can become little traumatic if you are totally unfamiliar with the proper dining etiquette during business meetings. You should lift everything as and when others are taking it. Not before, not after.

18. Proper use of utensils during business meetings:

The safest rule to use your forks, spoons and knives is to surf Google if you are going for business meeting first time. But if you dine at ceremonial restaurants very often, then identifying which utensil is used for which dish is normal for you.

Napkin and forks are to the left of your dinner plate. On the right side of the plate, the large spoon is solely meant for soup, the smaller spoon is for tea or coffee and the knife is for cutting purpose.

19. Basic table etiquettes during business meetings:

table etiquettes When you are sitting in a business meeting or conference, essential table manners is always important since it reflects how civilized and sensible professional you are. You should ask your neighborhood if they want something or wish to order anything else except your own preferences.

Right form is to pass food items to others by just asking the person to your left if you would like something.

20. Practicing good mouth activities:

Mouth eating etiquettes equally show your civilization. That means chewing with open mouth and speaking while you are chewing starters, main course meals etc sheds bad impression on the person sitting next to you.

21. Sitting postures while eating in meetings:

You should be well seated in a proper way and posture. Gap in chairs should remain with the client, or colleague sitting next to you.

It should not look like that your chair is getting attracted to the very next chair and you are falling unnecessarily on the other person. No elbows to be folded on the table. Should sit straight and alert.

22. Practicing good hygiene:

good hygiene Your must wash your hands after having snacks or proper food and brush your teeth if possible (knowingly brushing is not possible during official hours).

If you have eaten food at your work desk, you must wipe down the shell you may have used or touched, like your keyboard, laptop or telephone.

23. Clean up the area after yourself:

Whether you are eating at your desk or cooking a messy heavy meal in the office, always clean up after yourself. This includes bothering your table or desk, putting waste in proper holder etc.

Don’t leave surplus food in the shared refrigerator for too long hours. Throw away not needed food before it gets spoiled or give it to the office boys/ peons if there are any. It is a sign of a good professional employee.


All above mentioned things should be taken care of when you are working and having vital business meeting schedule. It helps a lot to understand and maintaining a relation of cooperation, employee friendship, eating together on same table, could be happened to be a good sign of future projections if any, and mature hale and hearty relationship off and on workplaces.