Restaurant conversation

Come prepared to the business meal in the same way as a job interview. The primary objective is to participate in a fruitful conversation; eating is secondary. It’s also a good idea to have more casual topics to talk about. Don’t be lured into a debate, so stay away from topics such as politics and religion. Talking about activities or hobbies such as gardening and fishing are better ice-breakers.


 Select the right type of restaurant for the meeting

A quieter atmosphere, in most cases, is more conducive to business than a loud, deli type environment.


 Specify where you should meet

If you are meeting people at a restaurant, specify where you should meet: outside, inside, at the bar, etc.


 Tell your guest what to expect 

to allow your guest to prepare and bring any pertinent materials.


 Dress appropriately

Call the restaurant to see if they have a dress code.


 Select a table away from foot traffic

with your guest seated facing into the restaurant rather than towards a wall. Try to book the best table at the place. It shouldn’t be too close to the kitchen or rest room doors or anywhere where people will pass by often.


 Don’t be late

It’s appropriate that this is the first rule of dining etiquette. Arriving even five or ten minutes late leaves a bad impression.


 Be a good listener

Stay focused. Looking around the room or appearing to be thinking of something else is distracting and discourteous.


 Turn off your phone

Now is not the time to be checking your incoming email or texting your colleague.


 Paying the Bill

The person who does the inviting does the paying. Tipping In a business setting, tipping is not optional. Consider tipping mandatory when it comes to business entertaining expenses. Even if service is substandard still leave at least some tip. When entertaining a business client it is important to tip an amount appropriate to the level and type of service. Usually 15 to 20% of the total bill before tax.


Proper manners impress clients and associates, you’ll come across as having charisma, and encourages long-term business relationships.


What business dining etiquette tips have work well for you?




Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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