Inviting a client, partner or colleague to lunch is a good way to conduct business outside of the usual office environment. It can allow both parties to break down barriers, generate trust and improve the working relationship in the long term. However, a business lunch isn’t always plain sailing. You need to get certain factors right and ensure you give a positive impression, or you could do more harm than good. As such, how can you organize a successful business lunch?
Firstly, you need to identify the right setting that matches the purpose of your meeting. Some clients or situations will demand the finest venue whereas others will be more comfortable in a more low-key setting. Timing is also significant because it has a direct impact on your schedule and that of your guest – so determine the best time for all involved before booking. Once you know the type of setting you are aiming for, you can look into cuisine choices.
The type of food on offer will have to be tailored to the requirements and preferences of invitees. Take consideration of dietary or cultural requirements when searching for a restaurant or bistro, to ensure that your guests can enjoy their food. If this is your first meeting, it is perhaps better to go a little more reserved in terms of your choice of cuisine. If later down the line you know they enjoy a certain type of food, you can book this with more confidence.
Clients and partners from overseas or different regions may appreciate some support when it comes to transport and accommodation surrounding the business lunch. They may be staying in the area for a matter of days or weeks, so suggest some options that they could consider. For example, if you’re meeting a client in London, you could suggest they explore serviced apartments in the capital for the duration of their stay.
As the lunch organizer, it is important that you arrive early and before your guests to welcome them. It’s common courtesy and you won’t give the best impression if you turn up late or poorly dressed. Once the lunch starts, give them your full attention and ensure you exercise the correct table manners for your type of meeting and environment. Be polite to staff and appropriately introduce business matters.
With these basic steps, you’ll be well on your way to organizing a successful business lunch. These types of meetings are a great way to build trust and understanding in a more casual setting, which can help to develop more positive and productive business relationships.