Your image is important, especially when it comes to your business surroundings. Even if you are invited to a casual business lunch, you should be aware of the fact, that its is going to be anything but casual. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to lunch with colleagues, clients, or partners, your behavior should be on point because any fauxpas could put a stain on your business reputation for ever. A business lunch can decide whether you get the job or whether it goes to the competition. To ensure that everything goes smoothly we have compiled a list of business lunch etiquette rules for you to follow.
Réspondez s’il vous plaît
When you receive a lunch invitation, you are expected to RSVP within a timely manner. If you wait longer than a week to respond, it may appear as if you were waiting for a more attractive offer. If you respond but don’t show up, you can be sure, that you won’t be asked a second time. Important: Always RSVP in time, always follow through with your plans and always show up on time!
Before the lunch
Shake everyone’s hand and introduce yourself to everyone you don’t know. Try to concentrate on remembering the important names, especially the host. Don’t take your seat until the host sits down. Once you’re seated, you can place your napkin neatly on your lap. When you get up to use the restrooms or take a call, you can place your napkin on your seat. When the meal is done, you neatly place it on the table, to the left side of your plate. Wait with your order until the host has ordered. You can base your order on his, if the other guests order an appetizer, so do you. If they don’t, you don’t ask for one either.
During the lunch
Don’t overeat, just because someone else is paying the tab. Order something simple that you can finish with dignity within an hour. Try to avoid asking the waiter to explain every single dish on the menu, you’re just going to get on everyone else’s nerves and look indecisive. You’re best advised to stay away from any complicated dishes like ribs, lobster or giant club sandwiches. Do not order the most expensive dish on the menu and don’t try to show off by ordering something no one (including you) has ever heard of. Try to stay away from too much alcohol, if everyone else is drinking, a glass of wine or one beer will suffice. If your place is set with more than one fork, work yourself in from the outside. Please don’t pre-cut your meal into small pieces, you’re a grownup! Also, don’t make yourself a sandwich out of the dinner rolls, you’ve got to break the bread. The bread is always on the left side of your meal and the water or wine on the right, if you remember this simple rule you may avoid an embarrassing fauxpas like eating your neighbor’s bread. Last, but certainly not least: chew, swallow, then speak. This chronology may never be changed.
Remember to always be friendly and respectful to all the waiters, you can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way they treat the staff. You’re well advised to avoid controversial conversation topics such as politics and religion. Just wait for someone else to lead the conversation and follow the flow. If you remember these few simple guidelines, your lunch should turn out perfectly fine.
By the way: If you’re looking for a great venue to host a business lunch, you can come by DUKE restaurant, Mondays- Fridays from 11:30 – 14:30. Reservations can be made on: +49 (0)30 68 315 4000.