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How to Plan a Business Lunch?

When it comes to business lunches, the business lunch menu depends heavily on the person you’re offering the lunch to. For instance, lunches for prospective clients will differ from those for your employees. Or, for example, a small business lunch for colleagues can be a simple affair as compared to business lunch for one of your high-end clients.

As mentioned earlier, the first thing you need to do is to decide who the lunch is for. Here are some business lunch ideas that have been categorized based on the guest list:
  • Prospective clients: While the first idea is always to go all out and book a table at the most expensive restaurant, experts advise against this.
    It is believed that throwing a lavish lunch for prospective clients might give them the impression that your business indulges in unnecessary expenditure. Then again, if you keep it simple and casual, it might also send out the wrong message. So, how do you find the right balance? The best alternative is to ask the prospective client to pick the place; once there, let them decide the lunch menu as well. However, if that’s not possible, it’s safer to err on the more lavish side.
  • Existing clients: With existing clients, there’s no fear of making the wrong impression. So what you need to pick in terms of place and menu ideas is something that breeds more familiarity and encourages socializing. You can also be adventurous and pick specialty cuisine restaurants where all parties can enjoy experimenting with new tastes and eating styles. Good picks include Middle Eastern, Indian, and Ethiopian restaurants. That said; always pick a high-end place for your clients or you might risk insulting them.
  • Employees: Treating your employees to a good lunch does not have to be an expensive affair. Such business lunches should be more casual and fun-oriented. Also, a good idea is to make it an outdoor lunch. Most people spend a considerable amount of time indoors, and outdoor lunches in an al fresco, for example, are a refreshing change. Since you are treating your employees, the size of the team matters as well. If it’s a large team, you might want to consider a multi-cuisine restaurant so that there’s something for everyone; however, for small teams, nothing beats a good Italian or Chinese restaurant where servings are large-sized.
  • Bosses: If you’re taking your boss out to lunch, it must be at a fancy and new restaurant. There is no other way to do this. Check out the local listings for the nicest restaurants in town and go there. Also, always let your boss pick the menu.
  • Colleagues: When it comes to colleagues, nothing beats a good home lunch. You can either prepare something yourself or order take-out. Alternatively, you could ask everyone where they’d like to eat and pick a restaurant with the most ‘ayes’. Keeping it simple and informal works best for colleagues.

Business Lunch Menu, Ideas

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when deciding the business lunch menus: 
  • Always check from beforehand if anyone is allergic to any kinds of foods. This is a must, even for prospective clients, as you do not want to serve up a dish that someone cannot eat.
  • If you’re eating out, make sure you are carrying enough money and/or credit cards. You do not want to embarrass yourself by not being able to foot the bill.
  • If it is a fancy restaurant you’re taking people to, make sure you tell them beforehand. Some restaurants have dress codes and you wouldn’t want to embarrass your colleagues, clients, or employers.
Submitted on January 16, 2014