The napkin should be placed on your lap as soon as you initially sit at a dining table, but not before the host places their napkin on their lap. If you must leave the table during dinner, fold your napkin and place on the back of the chair, the arm of the chair or the base. This shows the waitstaff that you will be returning. The waitstaff will refold your napkin and place on the table. If you place your napkin on the table, it may indicate to the waitstaff that you are finished.

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