Whether you’re an employee or entrepreneur, you’ve probably been to one of those business lunches at some point. Let’s face it; these lunches can be quite intimidating.
Since you’re not just casually having lunch with friends or family and sometimes, deals and relationships are at stake, you need to learn how to act properly when going on a business lunch.
What is a business lunch?
People go to a business lunch to discuss business matters over good food. Going out to lunch offers a different environment than doing a meeting inside the office, which can be more intimidating or stressful to some people.
For instance, you can invite a potential client or supplier to lunch, or you can pitch a proposal or hash out a deal over a business lunch. There are also times when you’re the one being invited to lunch over the same corporate goals.
Whether you’re the host or invitee, how you act during a work lunch should be of utmost importance since you’re the image of your brand and you’re responsible for whatever’s at stake.
How can you practice good business lunch etiquette as the host?
Since there’s so much more on the line than just enjoying good food, you should treat an office lunch as a formal event, no matter how informal the setting is. This is especially true if you’re the one hosting that lunch, in which case you need to follow these very important practices:
Be clear about your goals for lunch.
People in business don’t have time to waste even over a good lunch. So, if you’re planning to invite a potential client, business partner, or supplier, you need to know what your goals are for this lunch. Otherwise, you’ll both be wasting time and you could ruin your reputation while you’re at it.
Going for lunch with people means asking for their time, so you need to state your intentions clearly to keep them from being caught off guard. It also helps them prepare whatever information that you need from them so that you can guarantee a productive lunch.
Plan the lunch well.
Although this isn’t a big event, you need to treat a power lunch as an opportunity to impress whomever you’re inviting. This means paying attention to detail closely and making sure that your lunch will be unforgettable, especially if it’s your first meeting.
For starters, you need to find the perfect restaurant to have a business lunch, which you can do by visiting this website. Once you’ve decided on a restaurant, book a table that’s as far away from the crowd as possible.
If you have the budget and if the restaurant has it, you can even go for a private dining area. State to the restaurant that you’re having a business lunch, so they can give you the best table.
Extend a formal invitation.
Before finalizing all the details of your business lunch, make sure that the time, date, and location work well for your guest. Remember that inviting someone to lunch is harder than dinner since it’s the middle of the day and people are probably caught up in meetings and other responsibilities.
So, make sure that you work with a schedule that’s convenient for your guest. If you’re going for a casual lunch, you can make a call to extend the invitation instead of just sending an email or text message.
Set a budget.
Of course, since you’re the one extending the invitation for a business lunch, you should also expect to foot the bill after. Make sure that you set a budget that’s more than enough, so you have some legroom to work with in case you end up paying more than you expected.
Remember that you don’t want to embarrass yourself and the business by not having enough money to pay the bill.
What are the ten tips for attending a business lunch?
If you’re the one being invited to a business lunch, you need to do your part in acting properly to ensure that the meeting goes smoothly, as you’re also representing your brand.
Since your host has spent time looking for restaurants for business lunch on Nice local and planning the other details of this lunch, here are ten best practices that you should follow as a guest:
· Be present at the moment. So, you have pending tasks back in the office and people are sending you emails non-stop. But when you step into that lunch, make sure to put your phone away and give your full attention to the one you’re having lunch with. Any distraction is considered rude, and it could affect the result of this lunch, so be present at the moment.
· Dress the part. Since you already know what restaurant you’re going to, make sure that you dress appropriately. If it’s a formal restaurant, go for business formal, but if it’s a casual restaurant, you can go for business casual.
· Don’t order too much. Being invited to a nice restaurant for the first time can be exciting and the thought of getting free food may also make your order more than you can eat. But it’s more proper to let the host take the lead when ordering food and drinks, and of course, do it in moderation.
· Be kind to everyone. Think of this like going on a date. Even if you act nicely to your host, he will still look at how you act around other people at the restaurant, especially the waitstaff. Always be kind to these employees and commend them if they’re doing a good job at serving you.
· Take your time eating. So, you haven’t had breakfast yet and you’re starving. But never rush into eating just because you’re hungry because that could set a bad impression on your host. Instead, take small bites so you can still have a conversation while you’re eating. Remember that you should never talk when your mouth is full.
· Choose what food you order. Although you would love to have that crab dish or those chicken wings, save the messy food for a more casual lunch with friends. You don’t want to be using your hands to pick your food or constantly worry about creating a mess while you’re eating.
· Engage in a meaningful conversation. Although you can engage in small talk every now and then, remember to stick to topics that are relevant to your goal for the business lunch.
· Don’t laugh too hard. Always watch your reactions when on the business lunch to make sure that you don’t get any unnecessary—and unwanted attention—from both your host and other guests. Keep your voice low and don’t laugh too hard. Remember that this isn’t a casual hangout with friends.
· Never get drunk. There are instances when you’re having such a good conversation with your host that you forget that you’re on a business lunch. When a host starts to order drinks, it could easily translate to several drinks after and you might find yourself not acting the way you want to. So, even if the host insists, drink only what you can tolerate.
· Offer to be the host next. Although this is not really necessary, it would be a kind gesture to return the invitation by being the host for your next business lunch, especially if you still have some things to talk about related to your deal.
At the end of the day, how you act when around people whom you’re doing business with will play a huge role in how you are perceived not only as a person but as a brand.
So, make sure to keep these important tips in mind in acting properly as a host and guest to ensure that you create a good image all the time.