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Ideas for Planning a Memorable Business Luncheon

written by: jahunt1•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/25/2010

Making the most of business luncheon ideas can be the difference between gaining or losing a prospective client. Take the extra time needed to plan for an enjoyable, casual, and effective business luncheon with these ideas.

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    The Setting

    Make the setting of your business luncheon a pleasant environment, which will lend to a casual dining experience, conducive to relaxed, free-flowing conversation. If you are going to a local restaurant for your meal, choose an establishment you are familiar with and preferably, one where you will be greeted by name when arriving and escorted to the best table. Making a reservation in advance would be a wise decision.

    For a casual business meeting, consider something “out of the box" such as a museum, park or a party room. This will be a break from the monotony of typical business luncheon ideas. For buffets, decorate simply and elegantly taking care not to distract from the purpose of your meeting. Have the place settings and utensils arranged before the luncheon begins. A nice touch is to have the company logo printed on napkins.

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    The Menu

    The menu is one of the most important aspects of a business luncheon. When going to a restaurant, let the guests order first. For yourself, choose a light, manageable menu that you can eat easily with a fork and a knife. Now is not the time to choose pungent foods such as garlic or onion. A tip to remember is to eat a little before going to the business luncheon. This will allow the meal to take on a casual atmosphere and you will be able to focus on the business at hand. Always remember, for everything, you will be the party paying for the meal and all tips given to restaurant staff.

    For luncheon buffets, limit the menu items to easy-to-eat items and ones that will not be difficult to serve such as mini sandwiches, party pinwheels, and fruit/vegetable trays. For easy to serve recipes, read Savory Snacks Which Serve As Meals. Keep dessert items light and in small portions to avoid your clients becoming drowsy after the meal. You want your guests to focus more on the speaker than the food. Take care to make sure all foods are thoroughly cooked and avoid serving raw foods. This will minimize the chance that any of your guests could become ill. It is a good idea to provide place cards with ingredients listed for each menu item for guests who may have food allergies. Find some vegetarian menu ideas by reading Tips for Vegetarians in the Corporate Lunch World. Make sure to have a wide variety of beverages available including coffee and water.

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    Never Forget Manners

    Regardless of how well you're prepared with creative business luncheon ideas, if you do not use proper etiquette, you risk losing the business of your client. Taking time to pay attention to the little things will pay off in the end. When choosing a table, allow your client to have the seat with the best view. Make sure you do not dominate the conversation or force your client to discuss business before he or she is ready. Remember, you are striving for a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. If your client feels comfortable in your presence, they will be more likely to be open to any suggestions your have for their business.


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