Business Luncheon Etiquette – The Proper Etiquette for Business-minded Professionals
The way that you present yourself is of the utmost importance in the business world. Whether you are a business trying to lure in a new customer at a luncheon or you are a supplier that has been invited to talk business over lunch, there are a plethora of formalities that need to be followed. As with everything in the business world, the proper business luncheon etiquette will ensure that the afternoon is spent appropriately.
The Inviter Chooses the Location
The person that is inviting others for a luncheon should be the one choosing the location. Ideally, a place that is convenient for all parties should be chosen. In fact, the invitee should ensure that if a lot of travel is needed, they are the ones going farther. After all, this is an event that the inviter has put together to lure in businesses. If they have to go too far for the luncheon, they may decide that they will not go at all.
The Proper Attire is Necessary
Some luncheons are fancy and some are casual. In fact, some luncheons will take place at the local bar and will require a person to simply walk in with their street attire. The best bet for a person is to review the luncheon’s location beforehand to get a general idea of the attire that will be worn. While lawyers may always wear a suit and tie, others will not. Try to dress for the client that is being met as well as the atmosphere of the location. You never want to be overdressed and you certainly would not want to be too under dressed either. A little research will go a long way in choosing to dress casual or fancy.
Just because a business associate was invited to a luncheon does not mean that you have also been invited – even if you are the business owner. There may be only room for one attendee or the inviter’s budget may simply only allot for one guest. Never indulge in the idea of simply going to a business luncheon while not having an invite. This is simply tacky and will be frowned upon in the business world.
Dine with Elegance
Business luncheon etiquette can go all wrong when the meal that is ordered. In fact, the meal does not matter as much as the drinks. If you are known for drinking too often, opt for a glass of water. You never want to put a potential business deal in jeopardy because you simply got too tipsy to be able to hold a conversation. Before dining with a beer or a glass of wine, ensure that the occasion will call for it. A luncheon that is inviting a new member to the team for a nice afternoon out may call for a beer, but a luncheon with a potential supplier that is a recovering alcoholic may not go well if you decide to order a beer.
Don’t Start Business Talk Too Early
Obviously, a business luncheon will be for one reason – to talk business. While both parties expect to spark up a business conversation, talks that begin too early can hamper the entire event. Instead, a person will want to opt for a more casual approach. Break the ice during the appetizer and entrée by being friendly. Do not mention any business talks until after the main course has been eaten. The goal is to truly get to know the person that you are eating with and find some common ground on the talks that are going to be made.
Open Your Schedule
It is inappropriate to go into a luncheon with a cell phone and a laundry list of activities that you plan to do while eating. Instead, open up your schedule so that there will be no interference during your luncheon. This means that you may need to move clients to different hours and even turn off your cell phone for the entire time that you are at the luncheon. One brief cell phone call can turn a potential luncheon into one that is doomed for failure.
Inviter Pays the Bill
Business luncheon etiquette requires that the inviter is the one that pays the bill. While this may seem abnormal for some, if you invite another business to a luncheon, it is only appropriate to pay the bill. Casually grab the bill off of the table and pay for it without hesitation. If there is an item on the bill that is high priced, do not gasp in horror or say a word. Pay the bill with elegance and simply write it off come tax season. There is no price too high for a solid business relationship that can be sparked by one simple luncheon and the nice gesture of covering the bill.