From the Summer/Fall 2004 issue of
Entertaining a Client for Dinner
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
Baldrige’s “New Complete Guide to Executive Manners”
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.
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
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
Cygi Grammer, Etiquette Consultant