An effective networking tool is having a business lunch. Especially if you’re meeting for the first time it’s essential to be upfront about the purposes of the lunch. State your intentions clearly whether you’re looking for information or want to propose a collaboration; make sure to use clear language. Today, we at Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant would like to offer some tips when you are having a business lunch.
How Do I Do a Business Lunch Meeting?
1) Offer a respectful and thoughtful invitation. Ask your guest about what day, time, and location works for them before setting up a business lunch. Work with their schedule and provide a few options. You may want to call instead of sending an email to make it a more personal invitation if it’s a casual one-on-one lunch.
2) Inquire about preferences and dietary restrictions. Be sure to consider your guests’ food preferences and whether or not they have any food allergies when deciding on lunch options.
3) Make sure the bill is sorted before the lunch. When you extend the invitation for a business lunch, expect to foot the bill. Consider creating a budget item for lunches with business contacts if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner.
4) Give complete attention to your guest. During the meal, avoid interruptions. Not only do you break the flow of the conversation, but it will be distracting and/or considered rude when answer calls, texts, or emails during a business lunch. Give your host or guest your full, undivided attention.
5) Modestly order. It’s best to order both food and drinks in moderation. Allow the host to take the lead if you can. You may as well if they order a full entrée. Mirror that decision if their order is lighter, however. Even if others at the table are indulging, keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum. You want your wits about you to be able to make a good impression.
6) Appropriately dress. Inform your guest on the restaurant’s dress code. Consider dressing business formal if you’re going to a nice sit-down restaurant. If you’re meeting in a conference room or at a casual restaurant business casual attire should suffice. Try not to overdress if the person you’re meeting with seems more relaxed. Dress a little nicer than you think you need to when in doubt.
7) Eat small bites. Without having to speak with your mouth full of food, small bites will help you keep the conversation moving. You will also come across as polite and professional.
8) Be kind and respectful to the waitstaff. Be kind to the employees of the establishment, regardless of whether you’re at a fancy steakhouse or a fast-casual restaurant. This behavior can go a long way in making a good first impression.
9) Avoid finger foods. Though delicious, chicken wings, pizza, and hamburgers can be messy. Whether or not you’ve got food all over your face as you’re talking with a colleague or potential customer, you don’t want to be worrying about. Choose something you can cleanly eat with a fork and knife instead.
10) Stick to relevant topics. If it helps you get to know one another, small talk is fine. Stick to relevant topics that move the meeting towards a more productive end, otherwise.