How To Make Business Dinners Less Painful and More Productive?

22nd September 2022

Generally, when we travel to conferences or meetings, business lunches or dinners frequently are a major part of the experience. Your employees have to represent your company well in all of those business travels. That needs professional training. A formal business dinner has separate rules from a casual lunch at an event or a meal with your boss.

Therefore, it is necessary to develop actionable ideas for business dinner icebreakers. In general, people talk about some common events like the conference everyone at the table is attending. At the same time, your employees have to be very careful to edit their responses and find ways to tone down any negative comments from others. An apparently inoffensive conversation subject can become inappropriate.

Learn the Proper Etiquettes for Dining with Clients

Business dinner etiquette is important as it shows that you have manners. You can follow these steps to show you have an understanding of business dining decorum:

Dress Appropriately

Needless to say, it is the basic rule for a business dinner or lunch. This completely depends on the event and the type of restaurant you're dining at. For example, dressing business casual is typically ideal for networking events or preliminary meetings with recruiters. Wear your nicest formal wear for an interview or client meeting.

Don’t Forget the Purpose of the Dinner

Certainly, you will be making friendly conversation but remember why you are sitting together. Don’t forget to make an effort to talk about the work you do. You may be able to converse the significant subjects at first and then enjoy the rest of the meal having a casual discussion. You can go over all of your projects as well as numbers so if the host asks you questions, you need to be competent.

Eat Your Meal Properly

Avoid talking when your mouth is full. Chew quietly. Don’t pick your teeth at the table. Don’t talk business during the proper meal. Always keep your elbows off the table while eating. If you need anything, politely ask the person next to you to pass it to you. Take your cue from the host on when to start eating. Don’t slurp your liquids. If you have any dietary limitations, tell your host a few days before the dinner party.

Limit Your Phone

Don’t take calls during the meal. Keep it off the table, leave it in your bag or pocket, and put it on silent mode. It’s a symbol of respect to completely focus on the person in front of you. Validate your business partner, client or co-worker that it's significant for you to be there with them.

Seat Properly

Always make an effort to maintain good posture all over the meal. Keep your napkin in your nap and use your place settings appropriately. Your water glass needs to be on the left-hand side of your wine glass. Use the larger fork for your main dish. Keep your elbows off the table.

Don’t Order Alcohol First

Don’t order it at first unless you are the host. If your host orders alcohol, feel free to join in and order a glass of alcohol. Drink in moderation and there’s no strict rule for not having fun. Just be within your limits. Pace yourself and drink gradually.

Well, apart from the above-mentioned ones, here are some more basic tips for mastering the business dinner/lunch etiquette.

  • Treat all restaurant staff with respect
  • Show up on time
  • Always serve others before yourself
  • Order carefully
  • Greet everyone involved
  • Make good introductions
  • Make light conversation


Needless to say, conducting business over meals is a boundless way to build business relationships. Do you frequently train and boost your managers to have pre-business event meetings with employees? Consider train the trainer programs.

If you find this article useful then share the article with your friends or colleagues!

Written By : Ruchi Mehta


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