12 Tips for a Successful Business Lunch

Elizabeth Backman May 11, 2016

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 for 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.


  1. Arrive earlier and wait for your party before you take your seat.
  2. Food is not a priority for you. Therefore do not experiment with a new or messy dish such as lobster.
  3. 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, and the new car?

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

Navigating the table

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