When hosting a business meeting at a fine dining establishment, the manner that you present yourself will define your position in the company and your company's image. While you might already be fully aware of simple etiquette, such as basic table manners like chewing with your mouth closed and wiping your fingers and mouth often with a napkin, there are additional things you should do if you are the host. Here are 3 tips you might not be aware of.
Order the Same Number of Courses as Your Guests
Although you might not be in the mood to eat a lot or you might be in the mood for a lot of food, you should always order the same number of courses as your guests. For example, if your guests want to forgo ordering an appetizer, you should do the same even if you are aching for one. By ordering the same number of courses as your guests, you can pace yourself in accordance to the rate at which they are eating. This will prevent any awkwardness that may arise during the dinner, and will give you a better opportunity to discuss business affairs.
On the same note, make sure you take time eating. Pause every so often, especially if you are a quick eater. You do not want your guests to feel rushed. Generally speaking, your waiter or waitress will be keeping an eye out for how quickly everyone at your table finishes each course, and will only be bringing the next course out when everyone is finished.
Set Up Payment Ahead of Time
Another crucial etiquette tip that most people are not aware of is that they should set up payment ahead of time with the fine dining establishment. This will help make the dinner proceed a lot smoother, and will also give off the impression that you are a generous and gracious host.
To set up payment ahead of time, call the fine dining establishment the day before and provide the host or hostess with your credit card information. If you don't feel comfortable giving your credit card information to anyone over the phone, you should give your credit card to the host or hostess, or even to your waiter or waitress, before you sit down.
Do Not Rush Into Business Affairs
Take the dinner slowly. While it is important to discuss business affairs, it's also important to know when you should start up the discussion. Generally speaking, the polite thing to do is to let your guests order their courses before you start bringing up anything to do with the business. Before your guests order, make sure to be polite and engage in small talk.
Hosting a business dinner can be a lot of work. In a sense, the dinner is both a formal and casual environment. As the host, it is your responsibility to make your guests feel comfortable. It's also your responsibility to make sure you present yourself in a favourable light to your guests, as this will have a profound impact on your business and your business image.