How to host a successful business dinner

Hosting a business dinner is the perfect way to introduce yourself to clients and build the lasting relationships that are so important to success. Enjoying a meal in a nice location allows everyone to relax and makes it much easier to get to know or catch up with your guests. Of course, you want to make a good impression, so here are some helpful tips. 

Choose the restaurant wisely

When choosing a restaurant there are some key things to consider. Firstly, unless you are certain it won’t be necessary, you should choose a restaurant that offers options for people with certain dietary requirements. Knowing that the restaurant you’ve booked is able to accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free or other special diets means there will definitely be something available for everyone and you can avoid an unfortunate setback.

Try to select a restaurant you are familiar with to avoid surprises, but stick with high-end restaurants that will impress without being too loud or overcrowded. You may choose to opt for private dining to really impress your guests and ensure you aren’t interrupted by excessive noise. 

Research your guests

If you don’t know them well already, it can be helpful to research your dining companions prior to your dinner. You can probably use LinkedIn or online search tools to find out a little about their background and interests, but you could also try asking a mutual friend. Having some knowledge of a guest’s interests, hobbies and business background will help you steer conversation and build a meaningful relationship – but be sure not to make your online sleuthing obvious and allow the conversation to cover relevant topics naturally. 

Arrive early

Make sure you arrive at the restaurant before your dining companions to make a good impression. If you are already present when a guest arrives they will feel comfortable and can see that this dinner is important to you. Arriving early also gives you time to check everything over and pay the bill in advance if the restaurant allows it.

Prepaying the bill prevents any awkwardness at the table and makes the experience more comfortable for your guests. Ask the maître d’ if they can run your card prior to the dinner to avoid a bill coming to the table, designating a tip percentage and signing before your guests arrive.

Let your guests order first

Letting your guests order first is polite and means you won’t face any awkwardness by having to decide whether to indulge in appetizers or entrees. Whatever your companions choose, follow suit – this way, you are eating the same number of courses and there’s no waiting around for one person to finish their meal.

Allowing guests to take the lead with alcohol consumption is also advisable as you don’t want to drink much more or less than them. If you feel that one of your guests is drinking too much, you can prevent any embarrassment by excusing yourself and discreetly asking your server to refrain from refilling glasses. 

Save business talk for the right moment

It is a good idea to save business talk until after the main course, as by this point you should have eased your companions in with small talk and there will be fewer interruptions from the server. As the host, you should introduce the discussion of business matters. Small talk is often just as important as talking business however, as you can use this to get to know your guests and build a close relationship.

If you are looking to arrange a business dinner and are in search of the perfect location, M Restaurants is the place for you. Our restaurants offer the best private dining experience in London, with a range of rooms available to impress parties of all sizes.