Our etiquette expert Shital Mehra Kakkar gives tips on some prominent dinning skills which could prove beneficial or otherwise while striking that crucial deal
Business luncheon is often an optimal way to help crack the deal, but there are certain etiquette or dining skills involved in them, shares Shital Kakkar Mehra
We often casually say “let's catch up over lunch” when chatting with a business associate or a client. While a business meal sounds casual, there are several skills, besides your dining skills, which are on display.
Following are a few common business meal faux pas:
1. Arriving late: Not acceptable. As the host, it's expected that you reach a few minutes before your guests, request for your table and wait in the lobby area/ at your table for your guests to arrive. While waiting, order nothing for yourself – your guests get to see a well laid-out table instead of half-consumed food/ drink. To avoid confusion about time and place, follow up verbal invites with an email.
2. Rudeness to the wait staff: A superb technique to embarrass everyone! It's acceptable to politely ask the wait staff questions about the menu or bring to their notice problems with your order. Beckon the waiter by making eye contact or briefly raising your hand. Business deals may go haywire after a potential client sees your shabby treatment of the wait staff.
3. Wrong choice of restaurant: Know your restaurant by referring to reliable sources – some target business persons while others target families, some take pride in being the best for their food, while others are known for their ambience/service. Ideal business restaurants are those where the seating is in discreet booths, making it difficult for the other patrons to either see or hear you.
4. Not knowing your guest: Some business persons enjoy leisurely fourcourse meals in up market restaurants, while others are happier with a quick sandwich in the local coffee-shop or delicatessen, which promises good food and better service. Also, ask your guests for their preference of food – the best seafood restaurant will not impress a guest who is either vegetarian or allergic to shellfish!
5. Overdoing the alcohol: While several companies have a ‘no alcohol' policy for lunch, if you decide to order a martini, go easy!
Ideal business restaurants are those where the seating is in discreet booths
6. Weak follow-up: End the meal with a firm handshake and a warm “thank you”. As handwritten notes stand out in today's paperless offices, send one to your host thanking him/her for the meal. Also, send a note to your client thanking him/her for taking the time out for a meal with you. This note can be used effectively to highlight your discussions during the meal.
Shital Kakkar Mehra Practitioner of Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol in India