In the professional world, business dinners and meetings over meals are a very common experience that everyone will have during the course of their career. As a result, dining etiquette has become increasingly important to observe during such occasions. Though some people may proclaim regular dining behaviours and habits to be adequate or acceptable in professional settings, there are some key differences to note in order to maintain a respectable environment during professional meals. Some of these include:
1. Always be aware of who is the host: If you are the host of a business lunch, it is your role to point out to guests where they will be seated as well as to make sure that everyone is comfortable with where they are seated. If you are a guest of a business lunch, you must respect the host and only be seated once your seat has been pointed out to you by the host. To put it plainly, the host must always be in charge of the logistics required to set up the business lunch successfully.
2. Never pull out a chair to seat someone: Though social customs would tell us that it is required to pull out a chair to seat a woman, this is definitely not the case in a professional setting. It is important to note that traditional gender-based customs should be avoided during such situations.
3. Always use the proper utensils: Knowing how to use a fork, knife and spoon correctly is essential to maintain integrity during a business meeting. This also helps in maintaining a tidy plate and environment in general.
4. Take note of the “Rest” and “Finished” positions: Placing your knife near the top of the plate and your fork across middle of plate is indicative to the waiter that you are resting and are not finished with the meal. Placing your fork below the knife diagonally across the plate in parallel to each other indicates that you are finished with your meal and the waiter can clear your table.
5. Do not use the napkin as a tissue: If you need to wipe your hands or blow your nose, excuse yourself and make way for the toilet. The napkins provided by the restaurant at tables is only meant to be used for blotting near the corners of the mouth.
6. Never ask to pack up leftovers: Though food wastage is bad, it is generally considered unprofessional to ask the restaurant to pack up whatever is left from the meal in a take-out box.
7. Chew with your mouth closed: This applies to all kinds of dining situations however, it is twice as important in a business setting. So seriously, closed mouth while chewing = good.
8. Wait until everyone is served: Even if your food is the first to arrive from the kitchen, it is imperative to wait until everyone’s food has arrived before beginning to eat yourself.
9. Thank the host after the meal: If you are a guest, thanking the host for the meal shows appreciation and is considered common courtesy in the business world. As a host, it is also important to thank your guests for attending the meeting after the meal is over.
10. The host is required to cover the costs of the meal: This means that if you are hosting a business lunch, you must ensure that you are able to cover the costs before inviting guests as well as making 100% sure that every payment is duly completed. As a guest, our advice would be to enjoy. Free Food!
With all of this being said, a business lunch will usually be enjoyable and should not be scrutinized on too much. The most important part is to be comfortable and mindful of the topics at hand. We hope this list has been helpful.
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Tags-Professional Dining Etiquette, Dining Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know, dining etiquette do’s and don’ts,good table manners