Butler Etiquette

Etiquette is a Butler’s mantra in all tasks and decisions. Etiquette is not necessarily anything snobbish or for a few chosen only, it is for all and everybody. Upbringing, civility and schooling, all bring basics to our behaviour, approach and indictment.

Etiquette is a path on the way, nor difficult or frightening, it is basic safety and a foundation of people, and it is basic know-how for The professional Butler.

14 Butler etiquette rules

  • A Butler should always knock three times on the door.
  • When delivering a newspaper, letter or post, remember to deliver it on the principal’s writing side.
  • Discretion: A Butler should never speak more than necessary, and when it is appropriate to do so, it should always be in a clear tone.
  • Never have your hands on your back when serving or delivering. This is a misprint from the restaurant world and is only valid during Royal events. The Butler should always keeps his/her arms along their side, with the hands gently folded away.
  • The Butler never points with a finger. Using an open hand is the correct way.
  • Never leave the principal or a guest without asking: «Would there be something more Sir/mam»? – This is unforgivable and a Butler sin. Always verify and reply.
  • A Butler should always have short effective phrases ready for answering questions. Never yes or no answers.
  • The Butler should never receive thanks to him/herself. «It is on behalf of the principal.»
  • All answers are on behalf of the principal. «It is on behalf of Mr/Mrs…
  • If the principal him/herself thanks the Butler: «It is a team effort, Sir/mam…»
  • Elegant moves are essential for a Butler. Use soft and round movements whenever possible.
  • When moving, for instance, a glass, the Butler should use the two finger move which is a firm two finger grip at the bottom of the stem.
  • Always have a solution ready upon potential requests. If a special brand or something special is being asked for, check first and then find an alternative. «Allow me to present the alternatives, Sir/mam…»
  • The Butler never corrects: «As You know Sir/Mam…» is the right answer technique.
  • Never use the term but – use nevertheless.

14 rules from my personal Butler training and the only way of learning this trade – The British way.

«You hear nothing, You see nothing, You only serve…»

Written by Tore Berger of Berger Consulting

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