Dining Etiquette Tips For Business Travel: Impress Your Client!

Author: Megha Agarwal on Mar 03,2021

Today, businesses won’t take place just in the office. Employees are asked to come out of the workplace and go for business travel, lunch, and dinners to discuss the work. Dining out with the boss or clients is a tricky task as it demonstrates a lot about one’s character. However, adhering to business etiquette helps the employee to enjoy a smooth and impressive meal. While sharing a table with your boss, courteous and professional behavior is all that you need to win a lasting impression. To help you out with this, we have rounded up a list of 15 dining etiquette tips that you must keep in mind before heading out. This list will provide you the answers to all your questions and will help you make a positive impression. It’s time to demonstrate your social skills with these tips. Let’s take a look!!!


1. Do Some Homework About Your Peers



It is always good to know your peers before dining in with them. You must do a little research and try to learn about the individuals with whom you are going to share the table. Knowing their background, the company they are working in, and their interests will guide you in making the conversations. It will ease the whole process and eliminate the awkwardness of meeting new people. Do some effort and enjoy a friendly conversation with peers whom you might not know. 


2. Be Careful While Resting The Utensils



One of the most important tips to know while having dinner on Business Travel is to be careful while you rest your silverware. While you and others are engrossed in a conversation, resting utensils with noise will disturb everyone and ruin the whole ambiance. Also, different places have different ways of placing utensils. Since some countries consider it rude to place the utensil the wrong way, you must learn everything before you head out for a business meal. 


3. Make A Prior Reservation



There is no point in inviting the guests and let them wait until the table gets empty. If you are the host, then you should always reserve a table for all the guests ahead of time. Always remember- Nothing looks more unprofessional than arriving at the restaurant for a business meal and waiting for a table. You must always be prepared with any top restaurant and a booked table. It is the duty of the host to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Keep this in mind on your business travel and enjoy the meal.


4. Wear A Right Attire



In general the attire we put entirely depends on the occasion and restaurant we are heading to. However, when it comes to a business lunch or dinner, you must always keep in mind the rule of wearing professional attire. If you are on business travel and heading out for a meal with your boss or clients or colleagues, you should never dress up or down. Always wear what you usually wear in the office. However, if it is a business party or more of an informal dinner or lunch, then you can dress up a little, obviously!


5. Know Where You Should Sit



Every single act of yours on business travel will tell something or other about your personality. You must put some extra thoughts before you act. One such thing that needs a careful reaction is the “Sitting”. Confused? When on a business lunch or dinner with bigger parties, the table will surely be large and sitting must be in special hierarchies. You can not just sit anywhere. Let others take the seat- especially the boss and client- then you can sit. Even after sitting, make sure you maintain a good posture. Keep this in mind and impress the client.


6. Be Kind To The Waiters



How you interact with the staff brings up your true personality and helps to know how you actually are in person. So, be very courteous while dealing with the restaurant staff. Good travel and dining etiquettes include saying phrases like “Thank You” and “Please” while talking to the waiters. If any mistake happens by the waiter, it is not a good dining or travel manner to shout at them and scold them for it. Be a kind person or you will end up ruining your goodwill in front of your boss or clients. Be smart, Be Kind!!!


7. Don’t Act As A Ravenous Person


Remember- “Wait before digging in.” If you are hungry, then it is always preferable to eat something before heading out for business lunch or dinner. When you are out with your boss or team and eating too much will put a wrong impression- especially when others are paying the bill. Along with this, make sure you wait until everyone gets served and let your host begin eating. However, if your hosts insist you eat, you can take small bites. Maybe, it might not be the way you want to enjoy your meal, you have to do it when on business travel. 


8. Stay Away From Your Phone For A Little



Wondering what to do with your phone? We will tell you- Keep it on SILENT MODE! Yes, you read it right. When you are on business travel and you are invited for dinner or lunch, then you must stay away from your phone for a while. Unless it is an emergency, it is a sign of respect and a manner. Being on a phone, reading the text, sending messages, or talking on call makes the other feel uncomfortable and unimportant. You must give all your attention to your peers and enjoy eating with them. Avoid your phone- you can use it later. 


9. Greet Everyone With A Smile



You might have heard people saying- “The first impression is the last impression.” This popular saying is 100% true. One such way to leave a good impression on others, which is much needed on business travel, is to greet everyone with a firm handshake, smile, and good eye contact. Remember, Everyone! Greeting just the boss and leaving others will make you look rude and an individual with an attitude. So, take your time, greet people, and introduce yourself before taking the seat. Try a friendly greeting and polite introduction. You will surely be happy with the results. 


10. Do Not Order Alcohol First



One of the most tricky items at business dinners is none other than- Alcohol. If you are an attendee, then make sure that you never ever order alcohol in the first place. Let the host place the order. If your host orders alcohol, then you can imbibe too. But..but your consumption should be slow and you must stick to just one drink. In general, the purpose of lunch or dinner on business travel is to conduct business. When you are talking about business, consuming a lot of alcohol and passing out is never a good option.


11. Be Smart and Careful With Your Order



A business lunch or dinner is all about the relationship that you are going to establish for the long term. So, you must be very smart and careful with your acts- especially while ordering the food. When it’s your chance to order the food, you should be mindful and smart with your decision. It is a good idea to follow your host and order accordingly. Avoid ordering something that is a complete outlier on the table. Along with this, you should never order expensive items from the menu, unless you are picking up the check. Keep in mind- “You are not there for the food, you are there for the business.


12. Never Argue Over The Payment Of The Bill



Once you are done with a hearty meal and some business conversations, it’s time for the BILL. The most common question that people have on business travel or while having lunch/dinner-  Who Pays The Bill? Ideally, it is the responsibility of the host to pay for lunch or dinner. If you are just attending, you can ask once to pay the bill but should never argue to make the payment. It is etiquette to thank the host for the treat and finish the story. Pulling the bill and arguing to make the payment is a big NO!


13. Complete Everything That Is There On Your Plate



Although it is advised to try everything that is ordered, leaving food on your plate is never a good option. You don’t have to finish all the dishes, but you must finish what you take on your plate. Eating just a few pieces and leaving the rest or leaving the veggies from the dish will make you look unsophisticated and discourteous. Also, make sure you eat properly in small portions and with a closed mouth. “The more sophisticated you act, the better impression you leave.”- Got It?


14. Cut The Food Properly



When we talk about business travel or business meal etiquette, this is the one that is usually overlooked by most of us. If you are having a meal with your boss or clients, you should always cut down your food bite-sized pieces rather than consuming a lot at once. Also, make sure you cut every bite one-by-one. Also, make sure you chew your food before and then start to talk. Talking and chewing at the same time looks quite disgusting and will end up making you look ungracious.   


15. Never Bring Up Sensitive Topics



One of the most common questions that people have before heading out for lunch or dinner on business travel- What to talk about? You must be mindful before bringing up any topic. Talking about religion, politics, money, etc. are the topics discussing which might hurt someone’s sentiment. This is the reason it is advised to avoid such inappropriate topics and indulge yourself in light conversations. In a professional setting, it is best to keep the conversations to the business or lighthearted topics. 


Last but not least, when you dine with your boss or clients from another country, you must learn the basic dining etiquette of their nation in advance. With these tips, you are ready to handle the business dinners!


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