One should preserve a sharp imagine no matter the circumstances, whether he goes to have a bite with colleagues or wants to make a good impression on a client at an official dinner. But doing business while dining can be difficult at times. We have prepared a set of business dining courtesy tips to help you watch your manners and have a positive impact on the person you have your business meal with:
#1 Before the meal, you should shake hands with every person who is already sitting at the table and introduce yourself if there are unfamiliar people. The code implies that you have to stand until your host sits down. Wait for everyone else to seat and your host to move his or her napkin and then put your napkin on your lap. If someone arrives at the table after you do, the polite thing to do is to stand up and greet them.
#2 It’s not recommended to ask the approaching waiter details about everything on the menu (one or two items are acceptable, all the more if you have a food allergy or dietary problems such as a gluten intolerance and you have doubts about a dish). If you seem too picky or hesitant, your companions may become annoyed.
#3 Try to make a similar order with the host if they go first and not order a prime rib if they have a salad. In case the host doesn’t order first, request his or her recommendation. Also, try not to order the most expensive items on the menu or ask for things that are not easy to eat (pick dishes such as chicken, fish or salads).
#4 As specified above, it’s recommended to follow your host’s example also when it comes to ordering an alcoholic beverage. If you choose to drink, the limit should be one beer or a glass of wine.
#5 Don’t mistake your companion’s water glass or bread plate for yourself. You’ll find your drink always on the right side, above your knife and the soup spoon and your bread plate will always be located on the left side, above your fork. Hopefully, the restaurant obeys the same rules!
#6 We advise you to taste a little of everything on your plate unless you have a food allergic reaction. Otherwise, you might seem inexperienced and unrefined if you eat your steak and potatoes and do not taste your vegetables. If you don’t like the food, it is only polite to attempt to eat a small portion of it. Additionally, don’t eat too much or ask to finish anyone else’s plate.
#7 Cut only a small piece of food enough for the next mouthful, eat slowly and in small bites. Do not “play with” utensils or your food. Never wave or point using your silverware and do not hold food on your fork or spoon while talking.
#8 Do not bring up topics like politics, religion and other controversial topics. If some other companion brings up an issue you’re not comfortable with during the meal, try to change the subject in a polite way and as subtle as possible.
#9 If you leave the table during the meal, put your napkin on your chair and push the chair back under the table. You don’t have to announce where you are going or for what purpose.
#10 A cough or a sneeze should be aimed at your left shoulder, shielded by your left hand, keeping your other one germ-free. Do not use your napkin as a tissue. If you drop your fork on the floor, don’t think to retrieve it and just leave it there! Merely ask your waiter for a new utensil and tell the rest of your group to continue eating.
#11 The advice often given to you by your mother is still valid here: do not place your elbows on the table! And it is considered a sign of politeness not to talk with food in your mouth.
#12 If you have finished your meal, indicate your waiter to clear your place setting by resting your fork (tines up) and knife blade inward, with the handles resting at five o’clock and the tips pointing to ten o’clock on your plate. If you’re unable to finish your meal, it’s not courteous of you to take home leftovers.
#13 Don’t quarrel over the check or offer to pay the tip because the host who invited you is obliged to take care of both of them. Do not forget to thank your host for the meal, shake hands before you leave and maintain good eye contact. If you’re the host of the dinner and a guest offers to pay the bill, you must politely decline.
During a business lunch or dinner, you’ll have the chance to display your professionalism at its full potential, no matter if you’re going to a local steakhouse or dining abroad. The business dining code may vary depending on the country you’re in but some general rules still apply: use common sense and practice good manners.
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Also published on Medium.Tags: Business ettiquette, business relationships, Groups and meetings