The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Dinner with various cutlery positions, waiter taking empty plates (1950)

In the United States,[1] the silent service code is a way for a diner to communicate to waitstaff during a meal to indicate whether the diner is finished with their plate. This is intended to prevent situations where the server might remove a plate of food and utensils prematurely.

The code is almost always taught during business dining etiquette classes.[citation needed]


To indicate they have finished with their plate, a diner places their napkin to the left of their plate[citation needed] and places their utensils together at the "4-o'clock" position on their plate.[1] It is applicable to most types of table service: without waitstaff, the host or hosts may find it informative in judging when to clear away a course or the meal.

Utensils crossed on a plate signify that a diner is still eating.[citation needed] If a diner must leave during a course, placing their napkin on their chair indicates they are not finished.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b Paré, Jean (1993). Party Planning. Company's Coming Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-895455-26-7.