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 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 British 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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