12 Tips for a Successful Business Lunch

A lunch with a client is never just lunch. A lot of business decisions are made over business lunches. So, what are some do’s and don’ts for a successful business lunch?

Here is a short and sweet 12-point guideline to entertaining business clients.

How to cater to your client’s personal needs

1. Make it close to your client’s place of work.
2. Make sure of any food preferences, dislikes or allergies.
3. Make reservations.
4. Confirm with both the restaurant and your client a couple of days before to remind them.


5. Arrive earlier and wait for your party before you take your seat.
6. Food is not a priority for you. Therefore do not experiment on a new or messy dish such as lobster.
7. Make your client feel comfortable to indulge in a cocktail or wine but refrain if they decide to pass.

How’s the weather, the kids, the new car?

8. Wait on the topic of business until you have ordered. Engage in small talk first. This is the opportunity to get to know them, to build trust and improve your relationship.

Navigating the table

9. No cell phones on the table and do not glance at them.
10. Remember with your cutlery; work your way from outside in towards your dish.
11. Napkin on your lap, chew with your mouth closed and do not point or gesture with your cutlery. Use your best table manners!
12. Pay the bill with your credit card, as it is usually the simplest and most professional looking.

Elizabeth Backman

Elizabeth Backman is the owner of Pro Etiquette. Founded in Victoria in 2012, her business has now expanded to Greater Vancouver and is offering a program for regular in-house training, professional development days, speaking engagements, as well as private and individually tailored sessions. In addition to sessions aimed at the professional and corporate arena, a special-focus series is available for children and teens. She is an active member of the Rotary Langley Central Club and is engaged with her community. Email her or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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