5 Business Lunch Tips to Impress Your VIP Clients
Few business obligations are as stress-inducing as the big-client lunch. What to wear? Where to go? What do I order? What if I get ketchup on my tie? Thankfully, Yates Street Taphouse knows how to hammer those high-stakes lunch affairs. Stand out from the crowd and make a solid first impression with these 5 business lunch tips:
1. Mind Your Manners
Nobody wants to do business with a sloppy eater. Channel your inner Emily Post and remember the basics:
- Preview the menu online, ahead of time, so you know what you’ll order (this way your client isn’t waiting while you ask your server whether the dish is gluten-free and organic).
- If your client has serious food-allergies, or is a devout vegan for example, also avoid ordering dishes for yourself that contain the offensive ingredient–unless your client insists they’re okay with you doing so (your considerateness and attention to detail will go a long way to impress them).
- Let your client take the first bite (don’t start chomping down on your dish until your client starts on theirs).
- Don’t chew with your mouth open (come on!).
- Don’t have a beer unless your client does (you can always come back later).
- Listen more than you speak (don’t be a dialogue-hog).
- Be polite to the staff (being rude to servers is a great way to tank your deal).
- Finish your meal when your client finishes theirs (and don’t order dessert or an après-meal beverage unless your client does too).
- Be careful of beverage placement to avoid accidental spills (especially if important documents will be sharing the table-space with your food and drinks).
Much can be accomplished by letting your client (or clients) order first; monkey see, monkey do. And as amazing as they taste, consider avoiding a giant burger or messy finger foods (unless your client orders one too); it’s easier to crush the first impression when you don’t have chili cheese running down your chin. Easier said than done, we know.
2. Don’t Fight Over the Bill
Ideally, arrive to the restaurant ahead of time so you can arrange the payment of you and your client’s meals with your server before your client arrives. This is, by far, the smoothest and classiest way to go, and avoids any awkward deliberation between you and your client over the bill. At the end of the meal when your client asks about the bill, you can simply say “it’s been taken care of.” This allows you to wrap up your client lunch meeting with–a call-to-action regarding next steps–and a few departing niceties instead of dealing with the bill.
Otherwise, offering to cover the tab is a lovely gesture. And if you invited your client, you really should. Politely refusing their request to pay for you is even lovelier. That being said, if they insist, acquiesce. We swear there isn’t some passive-aggressive power game going on there, and hey, offering to get the next one means another chance to build your relationship. There are few things more awkward than watching fully grown adults fight over a tab.
And if it’s really that big of a deal, keep it cheap (Pssst…check out Taphouse’s 10 for $10 Lunch Menu). The stakes are much lower when nobody gets filet mignon and a bottle of Chablis.
3. Keep the Menu Varied
Make sure to pick a venue with a wide selection. Unless it’s on their LinkedIn (it probably isn’t), there’s no way of knowing if your client is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-carb, kosher, halal… the list goes on. Please don’t guess at this, or else you’ll be doing business with someone grumpily sipping water. A full client is a happy client, and an extensive menu with everything from pub classics to fresh and healthy salads should satisfy even the pickiest eater. The best way to handle this is to ask your client if they have any food-allergies or preferences beforehand.
4. Get. Off. The. Phone.
Here’s a business lunch tip that we shouldn’t have to mention, but we do. Put your phone away. Put it on vibrate, or silent. Better yet, leave it in the car, or at least out-of-sight. Even in the modern-age of perpetual smartphone addiction, there are few better ways to tell somebody “I’m not listening” than tip-tapping at your personal communication device. Worse, answering your phone in the middle of a meal is already a faux pas–don’t make it worse by doing it during a business lunch too.
Remember, you’re here for a reason, and you probably don’t have more than the lunch hour to work with. Don’t waste your VIP client’s time, and make sure you’ve got a clear agenda for your lunch meeting. From the outset, ask your client how much time you have together. Decide ahead of time whether you’ll be talking about business, or building rapport. If your lunch meeting is to hash out a business decision or deal, getting down to business (literally) will inspire confidence in your new contact, and doing so over a great lunch will show you are as good at having fun as you are at making them money.
5. Have Great Food!
None of our previous business lunch tips will matter if the meal is disappointing! The perfect business lunch should include a wealth of delicious choices complete with stellar drinks and desserts should the meeting go into overtime.
Still not sure where to take your VIP for the perfect business lunch in Victoria? Yates Street Taphouse provides stellar food and even better company. Yates Street Taphouse’s menu offers a variety of dishes including burgers and sandwiches, pizzas and share plates, soups and salads, and other pub favourites all prepared by chefs who love what they do, and brought by staff that wouldn’t work anywhere else. When you book your important lunch meetings at the Taphouse, you’re well on your way to ensuring a successful outcome.
If you need a meeting spot where clients will want to keep coming back for another round, make our house your house at Yates Street Taphouse. We can even accommodate large business groups too.
You can thank us for that new business deal later.