Close the Deal: Top 5 Etiquette Tips for a Successful Business Lunch

Looking to make an important deal or sign a new client? Taking associates out to lunch is a great way to strengthen your business relationships. Sharing a meal and getting out of the office can help make everyone feel more relaxed and open. In addition, your client or colleague will appreciate the gesture and time you’ve committed by taking them out for a meal.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a favorite spot for business lunches and dinners. Businesspeople choose us because we have an award-winning menu of fine dining options, wine, and cocktails, which we serve in an upscale, sophisticated setting.

We’ve seen our share of business lunches, which means we’re experts of sorts on what to do—and what not to do—at a business lunch. Take the next step to impressing your clients or colleagues; find insider etiquette tips for your next business lunch from Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

1. Start off Strong

The beginning of a meal can set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Be sure to stand when everyone arrives, shake hands, and pay careful attention to everyone’s names. If some of your guests have not yet met, make the necessary introductions.

Most important of all—arrive on time! Show your clients or colleagues that you value their time by being punctual.

2. Choose Fail-Safe Foods

This may sound more like a dining tip for a first date, but the same rule applies for business meetings. When someone is speaking, you want to be able to maintain eye contact, not busy looking at the complicated dish you ordered. Choose menu items that can be eaten easily, like Ruth’s Cobb Salad, Crab Cakes or the Luncheon Filet.

Another aspect of maintaining eye contact and engaging in conversation is that you shouldn’t go silent the minute your entrée arrives. No matter how excited you are about that sandwich, make an effort to take breaks in between bites to continue the conversation with your guests.

3. Put Away the Technology

This rule sounds simple, but is difficult for some to follow. Put your phone away, and don’t check it during the meal. Resist the temptation to leave it on the table next to you. Some studies have even shown that conversation quality decreases when cell phones are present on the table.

The moral of the story? While you’re at a business lunch, other business can wait.

4. Be Strategic About When to Talk Business

A business lunch can and should be fun! When you sit down to the meal, allow your guests to enjoy their drinks and appetizers before you dive into more serious conversation topics. Take advantage of this time to show a polite interest in your clients’ or colleagues’ personal lives.

The safest time to bring up business is usually after you and your guests have ordered your entrees. At that point, you know you will have some uninterrupted time to talk before the main course arrives.

5. Pick the Right Restaurant

The last—and arguably most important—key to a successful business lunch hinges on the restaurant choice. You’ll want to choose a restaurant like Ruth’s Chris, where you feel confident that the meal will satisfy everyone and will run smoothly.

Choose a restaurant where you won’t feel rushed or crowded. If you arrive early, you might even mention to your server that you’ll be hosting a business lunch, so they will know to give you and your guests the space and time you need to talk.

Plan Your Next Business Lunch at Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Don’t leave anything up to chance at your next business lunch—make a reservation at the Ruth’s Chris restaurant nearest you to ensure that your guests will be impressed with their meal. With a reservation at Ruth’s Chris and these etiquette tips, you’re sure to close the deal.