Complex Made Simple

Expert on business dining etiquette: Meals that lead to deals

Words by Medy Navani, Founder and Creative Director of Design Haus Medy

Many a deal is made over a meal. It is a subtle art creating a rapport and relationship away from a screen and is a vital part of the business deal process. However, it can be quite intimate as you have the undivided attention of that person and the last thing you want to do is to scare the business off by having bad dining habits. But how do you know you aren’t making dining faux pas? Here, Medy Navani, Founder and Creative Director of Design Haus Medy, provides his tips to business dining etiquette to help you seal that deal.

Take charge

As the person who has invited a potential client for a meal, you need to make sure you are in control of all elements of the experience. From the moment you send out the invitation, ensure it is on a date you will not need to change as this can look sloppy and as if you do not value the clients time.

What do you like

As you want to make the client as comfortable as possible, it is always nice to give them the option to choose where they would like to go. Make sure to make a reservation in advance and ask for a nice table. If your dining partner does not have a preference, choose a restaurant that you like and perhaps are known as this will ensure you are confident in the level of service provided as well as the quality of the food to ensure you impress.

Remember your manners

This may seem like an obvious one but manners are always important. Place your napkin on your lap, be gracious to your servers, always offer to your guest before serving yourself, and keep your mouth closed when chewing. Being polite costs nothing and it can go a long way in how you are seen by a client.

Know your stuff

At the end of the day, this is not a meal with friends. It is still business so it is important to come prepared with knowledge. This does not mean it is a time to get out your laptop and continue with a thirty-minute presentation in the middle of the restaurant. It is more a time to go over the main interest points for the client and answer any questions they have.

Your treat

If you have invited someone for a meal, it is a general rule of thumb that you will be the one to pick up the check. To avoid any awkwardness, upon arriving at the restaurant, which should also be earlier than your dining companion, notify the maître d that you will be taking care of the bill and provide them with your credit card there and then.

Established in 2006, Design Haus Medy is an award-winning architecture and interior design practice based in Dubai.