SECRETS TO SUCCESS

DINING ETIQUETTES FOR BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS

Formal business dinner has different rules than a casual lunch

12.06.2021
BY HANUM FAUZIA
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Business can be anxious with opportunities for things to go wrong. If you do everything right, no one really notices it, but if you get it wrong, you ruin something big and the deal may not happen. So the goal is to keep others around you comfortable, not to draw any negative attention to yourself, and as a result, your personality and what you have to say can shine. 

Dining out can be so important, as it reveals one's character that many companies make it a part of their onboarding process before they hire you. Whether you can manage a conversation? Or do you fit in socially with your boss, your team? It's always important to know the difference between a business dinner and casual lunch. Another main thing is you have to search about the local dining etiquette based on the countries that can be read here. 

So, what are the business dining etiquettes?

Identify the host

No matter where you are, a business lunch or dinner always has a host. If you go out with your superior, your boss chooses the restaurant, as well as the time. If you’re just going out with colleagues because you’re hungry, there may not be a host necessarily, unless you want to pick their brains then you become the host and invite them. 

Eating your meal

Don’t talk business during the meal proper, unless the senior members want to do so. Otherwise, business matters should be addressed either before the meal or after it. If you need something that is not within your reach, politely ask the person next to you to pass it to you. 

Food is typically passed from left to right. Try to pace yourself so that you can finish at the same time as everyone else. When you have finished eating, you can let others know that you have by placing your knife and fork together, with the tines on the fork facing upwards, on your plate. Don’t forget to thank your host for the meal!

Sticky situations and possible solutions

If you are having something in your mouth that doesn’t agree with you, ask the waiter for a paper napkin and discreetly spit the food out. Crumple the napkin and place it under the sides of your plate. Keep the food you had spit out away from the other’s view. 

If you accidentally spilled food or drinks on a guest: don’t panic. Apologize sincerely first. Use the cloth napkin and water to gently wipe the spill. You may also guide the guest to the washroom.

Where exactly should you sit?

Obviously, there’s a table, but especially with bigger parties, there can be large tables and specific hierarchies. It’s easiest when you’re the guests. Just wait until the host tells you where to sit. In case you’re not offered a seat, wait until your host sits and puts you in a position that allows for easy conversation. If it’s just dinner between two people, it is much easier than if there are 20 people involved. That being said, sitting all across at the end of the table would be wrong.

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