Cygi Grammer

  Protocol & Etiquette Consultant

  Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia  Canada  B0J 2E0

   PH:  902.624.6199   FX:  902.624.6100   E-mail:

Cygi Grammer Protocol & Etiquette Consultant



Business Etiquette

Business Dining

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Entertaining a Client for Dinner


From the Summer/Fall 2004 issue of Progressive Choices,

Entertaining a Client for Dinner

Just as a chef carefully measures the ingredients in his recipe, to ensure the success of his dish, so the person in charge of company entertaining…should measure the amount of good will generated by each event.

                              --Letitia Baldrige’s “New Complete Guide to Executive Manners”

 A successful chef creates his menu with a personal flourish, a creative edge that sets his restaurant apart from the culinary competition.  North American businesses can add a personal flourish to their menu of services by adding one essential “Old World” ingredient:  Etiquette.  Business etiquette and dining etiquette guide the interactions between business representatives and clientele.  Etiquette teaches one how to treat others with the utmost respect and consideration, a business skill of distinction and character.  A successful restaurant entertains all patrons by offering its best menu with the finest service.  A business enterprise that chooses to entertain clients should heed this example, and deliver its menu of business services with the social aplomb demonstrated through proper business and dining etiquette.   

When considering dining at a restaurant, your client’s wants and needs should always come first and should not be treated superficially.  Make sure your choices reflect your clients likes and dislikes and not your own.  Here are some helpful tips:

  • When choosing a date, offer a few dates for your client to choose from.  Remember the person extending the invitation is the person who pays the bill.
  • When selecting a place, think of a few restaurants that you are familiar with, and if possible, that are in close proximity to your client.  Let the client decide.  It is important that you are familiar with the restaurant of choice so that you know what to expect in the way of food, service and pricing. 
  • Make the reservation.
  • The morning of the dinner, call your client to confirm.  If a rescheduling needs to take place, call and reschedule or cancel the reservation.
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early to greet your guest at the door.  Fifteen minutes early lends you time to discuss with the captain or waitron the paying of the bill.  It is most elegant if the bill never arrives at the table in front of the client but is collected when leaving.  For instance, your credit card could be processed and signed with an agreed customary tip to be added by the waitron in advance.
  • If you are going to be late, call the restaurant and ask them to notify the client.  Also instruct the waitstaff to direct the client to the table and take a drink order.
  • After greeting your client at the door, allow your client to precede you into the dining room.  Offer your client the best seat—the one with the best view.  If you are entertaining multiple clients, it is customary to be seated with the first guests after waiting 10 minutes.
  • When seated, offer your client the opportunity to order a drink.  Remember, if the client orders, you order.  Offer a selection of items on the menu so that your client knows the price range for ordering.  Try to stay within the same range as your client so that no one feels uncomfortable.
  • Small talk is invaluable and shows interest in the client.  Wait until meal orders are placed before moving smoothly into business talk.

Cygi Grammer, Etiquette Consultant

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