30 lessons in 30 years / Business Etiquette / Cross Cultural Differences / Generation Y


In business, entertaining a client is a very popular way of doing business, especially in today’s world when more and more people are more aware of great culinary delights around their towns. Doing business or signing a contract in a more casual environment to someones place of business or a boardroom, opens the relationship to a more holistic and global level.

My 6 rules in Wine & Dine Etiquette in Business are:

Choose the type of restaurant that reflects the business from the customer, or potential businessthe same concept goes for a job interview, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. When choosing a restaurant to take a customer to, ensure it reflects the gratitude of the business they currently give to you, or are about to give to you (upon signing the contract, over the meal). Always ring ahead and make a reservation and ask for their help in securing the best table available in the house. It shows your guest that you care. Arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes before your ‘meal date’, this way you can check the table, the view, learn about the menu, fix your suit or makeup and most importantly you can be there at the restaurant to welcome your guest.

Whoever invites, pays: When one invites a guest or guests to a lunch or dinner, the invitation won’t ever clearly state it, but it is given that the host will pay for the meal. As a guest, be aware not to over indulge in any aspect of the meal and show respect to the host by doing so. If the host insists on ensuring you order the lobster, then feel free to do so.

Invite the Right: Less is more when inviting people to a business lunch or dinner. The less people shows the customer how important and valued they are in your and your companies eyes.

You chose the wine for the menu: Arrive early to the restaurant, speak with the Maître d’ or sommelier (depending on the restaurant chosen), ask for recommendations to start the meal off with and then what they would recommend for different aspects of the meal. You may wish to set up for the sommelier to come and speak at the table – it’s very impressive! If you don’t have the ability to speak to a Maître d’ or sommelier then look for a bottle of wine that would be an ‘above average’ priced bottle. Something that is impressive, but not extravagant. Extravagance could make the guest feel embarrassed and pressured. Make sure if your guest has dietary requirements, you get those during the acceptance of invitation (RSVP) process, then the restaurant can be fully prepared and you can help them show their strengths.

Your guest is the leader: If they want wine, you join them. If they choose not to have wine, you join them. If they choose to order entrée, you join them. If they want to share a salad or greens on the side, you join them. This lunch is all about them. In India they have a saying: “Guest is God”, they believe anything the guest wants they’ll get. This entertaining isn’t about getting a free meal, you’ll be working the entire way through the meal to ensure the guest is happy, comfortable and taken care of. After all, what’s the price of business?

Don’t forget your manners: Do you know whether to wait for everyone at the table to be served before staring? Do you know where to place your knife and fork or chopsticks when resting or finished? Table Etiquette is another topic for another day, but your basic table manners that your parents taught you should come into play here. Practice them, brush up on them, be the etiquette King (or Queen) of the restaurant.

The Training Establishment offers modules of all topics to help young people in business become great managers. Explore more of what we offer here.

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See this article in the Sydney Morning Herald too: Click Here