Business Lunch Do’s and Don’ts
Business professionals who spend all day in their offices invite the opportunity to get out for the occasional business lunch. This is a lunch where clients might be involved, or it could be the chance for you to make a good impression on the higher-ups in the company. As with any business function, there are do’s and don’ts you should follow if you want to make the very best impression.
Put Your Smartphone Away
No matter where you sit in the hierarchy of people at your lunch table, it is always a good idea to put the smartphone away and turn off your ringer. Your customers would not appreciate being interrupted by a ringing phone, and your company president is definitely not going to be impressed with an employee who takes text messages during a business lunch.
If you are waiting for a very critical call, then you should inform your guests and keep your ringtone low or on vibrate. If the phone does ring, excuse yourself from the table to avoid disrupting the business lunch and try to make the call brief. In some cases, you can get away with taking an important call, if you are waiting for a big deal to land, contract to be signed etc, especially if the people at the lunch are involved in the business call. It can actually be very advantageous for a lucrative business transaction to come to fruition whilst you are in the middle of a business lunch with investors or associates. It makes you and your business a much more viable investment.
Of course, if there is cause for celebration, go easy on the bubbles! You wouldn’t want to go from “hero to zero” due to a lapse in judgment whilst under the influence of alcohol!
Do I Pay My Portion Of The Bill?
Business professionals who are new to the idea of a business lunch can often get confused with who pays when the lunch is over. In most situations, the person who organized the lunch should be the one who pays. But if your boss asks you out to a business lunch to discuss your future with the company, then it might be a good gesture to pick up the check.
If you are organizing a business lunch, then you will be expected to pick the restaurant. The safest bet is to choose a place that has a diverse menu and pleasant ambiance. Not everyone likes Chinese food, and you can put yourself in a bad position with your clients if you choose a restaurant that they do not like. Try to choose a place that you have been to before so that you can vouch for the food and service. Poor food and long delays will place a negative slant on your meeting. If you are picking up the tab, it’s a good idea to check the prices. Avoid something too extravagant if you know you just don’t have the budget for it.
If budget is limited, it can be a good idea to host a business lunch in the office. It can often work out cheaper to invite caterers in, rather than take your guests out. (Business lunches can often lead to people taking advantage. Ordering expensive dishes, wines or whiskey’s that they wouldn’t perhaps order if footing the bill themselves!)
If your office is located at a prestigious location such as The Shard, it would almost be advisable to host your meetings here! Your guests will be wowed before you even have time to pitch!
Do Confirm Details In Advance
You should try to plan a business lunch at least a week in advance, and you should confirm that everyone has the details of the lunch the day before. Communications can get crossed and people can forget to write things down, which could lead to a disaster on lunch day. But if you take the time to confirm the details with everyone the day before, then you should be able to avoid any embarrassing situations.
Don’t Order Foods That Will Attract Attention
When you order food for your business lunch, go with food that is not overly crunchy, has a certain aroma or is difficult to eat. Messy foods, where finger bowls are a necessity, should probably be avoided unless you are at a themed restaurant and everyone else in the party will get in a mess. If you have a favorite dish that you know looks less than appetizing to others, then do not order it at your business lunch. You should order food that will allow you to eat, but not gets in the way of business talk.
Take Cues From Your Guests
If your guests do not order drinks before lunch, then you should not order drinks either. If your guests are more interested in talking business than discussing the menu, then choose something quickly and keep the business conversation going. As the business lunch host, your job is to make your guests feel comfortable and allow your guests to dictate the tone of the meal.
A business lunch can be a great way to conduct business or show the boss that you are ready for more responsibility. If you follow the common rules of etiquette for business lunches, then your event will be a success.