Business lunch meetings are better when preparation and planning take precedence. For business lunch meetings to be as productive as possible, you should take into consideration four strategies. Your clients will appreciate your planning ahead. Let’s take a look at the four strategies you should follow to make any business lunch a successful event.
Four Steps to Ensure A Successful Business Lunch
Whether you’re dining out or hosting lunch at your office, here are four steps to making sure you have a successful business lunch clients and lunch meeting participants.
Send Out the Invitations
Use your company’s email to send requested attendees an invitation that links to their calendar. Your RSVP list will be easier to track, and those that accept your invitation can have the lunch immediately added to the calendar. The email should also include a time, the location of the lunch, and a relevant agenda.
If possible, be sure that in-person follow-ups happen, and always double-check over the phone on attendance and any needs for clarification. This helps to reduce the chances of people forgetting or being left out. You also must make sure that all responses to the invitation by everyone are captured.
Planning and Ordering Lunch
Along with your invitation or shortly thereafter start planning the meal. Most restaurants and catering services can pull something together on short notice, but as with everything, it is always best to plan ahead. Build even more excitement by announcing the menu choices as soon as possible. Most everyone gets excited about food, right?
Be sure that you have options that meet restrictive diets. Make sure vegetarians have options and also try to have gluten-free choices. Make sure that condiments, ice, plates, cups, and cutlery are covered, too. Have a list of what everyone ordered. To limit confusion on the day of the event, have names written on orders or positioned at people’s seats.
Follow Proper Business Lunch Etiquette
Business lunch meetings will be more productive if certain business lunch etiquette tips are followed. Some of those tips include:
- Presenting An Outline of the Meeting
- Following the Outline for the Meeting
- Regulating Time and Ground Covered
- Making Sure Every One Present Can Chime In
- Leaving Time for Questions and Clarification
- Finalizing Strategies and Follow-Up
Any successful business lunch you hold for clients follows a certain level of business lunch etiquette. Make sure to have a grasp on each of the five aforementioned business lunch etiquette tips.
Follow Up and Stay in Touch
After your successful business lunch has concluded, you must make all efforts possible to make sure clients remember the experience. Keep them excited and engaged in moving forward. Immediately follow up with a hand-written thank you addressed to the entire group. Send an additional hand-written note to the point of contact on their end, that helped you make it happen.
You should also be sure to call their main point of contact to thank them. The ongoing relationship with this main contact person must be coddled to be sure any assignments and follow-ups happen. Let them know you appreciate the opportunity to gather everyone for lunch. Thank them for their work in making it happen, and be certain they or someone with the company is tasked with any and all follow-up.
Dining Out: Business Lunch Etiquette Tips at Restaurants
Your Guide to Etiquette With Clients When Eating at Restaurants
Hold and use your Cutlery, Glassware and Napkin Correctly
It’s important to know basic dining etiquette so you can focus on the goals of the meeting and not worry if you’re using your utensils and other dining items properly.
- Napkins: should be placed on your lap as soon as you are seated at the table.
- Silverware Placement: You will find the forks on the left side of the plate and the knives and spoons on the right. A fork and spoon placed above the dining plate are always for dessert.
- Bread & Butter Knife: Your bread plate and butter knife will always be to the left of your setting, and your glassware will always be to the right, above the knives and spoons.
Knowing what a place setting looks like will ensure that you don’t pick up someone else’s glass or another item by mistake.
Be The Host
As the person who scheduled or called for the lunch meeting, it’s important that you play the part of the host, ensuring that the guest, whether it’s a client or a prospective client, has everything he or she needs.
- Arrive Early: Arrive a few minutes earlier to confirm that the table is ready and notify the restaurant staff of anything they need to know, such as giving you the bill or giving them your credit card to charge the bill at the end of the meal.
- Offer the Guests The Seat: Give your guest the better seat, which is often the banquette side of the table or one that faces the room.
- Ordering Drinks: While you can order wine for the table if it’s a group dining, you should let everyone order meals before you do so you match the number of courses your client is eating.
No Grooming at the Table
Always excuse yourself to take care of any grooming matters. This includes:
- Fixing your hair
- Removing food from between your teeth if you can’t easily do it with your tongue and mouth closed
- Reapply makeup or even Chapstick
- When You’re Running Late: If you are running late, let your guest(s) know in advance of the meeting time, and give them 2 minutes notice for every 1 minute you will be late.
- Phone Usage: Never take a phone call or text at the table. Always excuse yourself, and if you’re expecting an urgent call, notify your guest(s) that you are expecting a call.
- Focus on The Meeting: Stay focused on the meeting and people at the table – particularly your clients. Try to avoid looking around to see who else is in the dining room.
Hosting Lunch: How to Order Food for Business Lunch Meetings at the Office:
Here are some catering tips offered by ZeroCater for businesses looking to host lunch at the office.
How to Choose a Reliable Caterer?
Finding the right caterer is key. You want a reliable caterer. At ZeroCater, we vet our Culinary Partners through a trial period. Some of the things we recommend looking at are previous ratings and reviews. Find out whether they’ve catered to an event or meeting similar to the type of event you’re hosting.
How Much Food Should Be Ordered?
This depends on your audience and their eating habits! For average portions, we recommend the ZeroCater standard: 6 oz of protein, 4 oz of vegetables, and 4 oz. of starch, per person. We also recommend that you plan for leftovers ahead of time; whether you work directly with the venue to dispose of or redistribute any remaining items or with a third party who can pick them up and donate them to members of the community who are in need.
Individual Orders vs. Buffets:
At ZeroCater, we recommend a family-style buffet when possible so that guests can take what they want, and leave what they don’t. However, some circumstances call for a more grab-n-go friendly, options like boxed lunches or pre-packaged sandwiches that are easier to take to the next meeting or when seating is undetermined.
How to Choose Dishes to Accommodate Everyone:
It’s best to do some sort of surveying to ensure you are accounting for the majority. Surprisingly, most cuisine types can cater to a wide variety of tastes and preferences. We recommend planning for two meat protein options (i.e. chicken or beef), one meat alternative protein option, and 2 vegetarian/vegan-friendly sides.
Take These Tips into Your Next Business Lunch
Any business lunch you plan for your clients can serve as an opportunity for relationship building, stewardship, planning, and growth. In order to make these client business lunches rewarding as possible, we hope you will take time to master each of the four areas we have covered. While there undoubtedly other tips to you can consider, the four strategies presented above will without a doubt make your business lunches a hit for you and your clients.
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