Dining Rules Of Business


How happy are you that within a few weeks we can be patio sitting and drinking bottomless mimosas outside? Before we venture out into al fresco dining let’s chat about the rules of business.

The big question is, “Can you drink alcohol at a business lunch?”

In the great era of the “Mad Men” power lunches we all know the alcohol was the meal. Times changed a bit over the last 50 years so here are the new thoughts.

1. You should know based on your profession (are you an attorney getting ready to head to court after lunch at _____ and maybe it’s frowned upon to not have your wits about you?) and your employer’s opinions of alcohol “on the clock”. Stick with those guidelines and of course, your gut.

2. The magic of networking. If you are in sales and relationship building, then you know nothing can build comradery like a glass of wine. Enjoy one drink - it’s not a good look to have two no matter what profession you are in.

3. Know your audience and use common sense. If you are going out with the Boss or the Board - always follow their lead. It’s better to play it safe than sorry.

Happy Hour Meetings

We love these! Most of our initial meetings at TOPS are scheduled for 4:00 - cocktail hour! You are allowed to drink regardless of your client. Everyone knows what a “Let’s have a drink” invitation means! If you’re able to handle yourself and get home responsibly, then you might allow yourself to have two.

Carson’s is our go-t0 for “seeing and being seen” for business lunches or meetings. One tip - be sure and make a reservation because this place is always packed!

Another favorite would be Malone’s or Drakes for the perfect Happy Hour spot. After every “print-day” you can find the TOPS team at Drakes celebrating the most recent issue and taking a breather! On the other hand, Malone’s is another great location for a business lunch - the perfect atmosphere.

Here’s a tip - when you are the guest: 1) don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. It’s just lunch, so keep it light! 2) don’t order top-shelf alcohol. Your mama taught you better!

Another choice you can’t go wrong with for a casual business happy hour is Mexican! A couple of margaritas and some chips and queso and you’re all set.

It all depends on the client and purpose of the meeting that will determine the location. Do you need somewhere quieter and sophisticated or is it more of a laid-back business lunch?

Meeting Etiquette

1. Always tip well and always be friendly and appreciative of your server. It’s just like the question about do you return your shopping cart after grocery shopping at Kroger? People can tell a lot about you from the little things that you do. We want to do business with people we like overall.

2.Always put your napkin on your lap. Doing this shows basic etiquette and makes you seem well put together from the beginning of your meeting.

3. Try your best not to talk with your mouth full. Your guest will be respectful to let you finish your bite before answering their question. Don’t you love it when you bite into a burger and someone immediately asks you a question? Laugh about it instead of feeling pressured to answer right away without swallowing your food first.

4. Ask questions! The main rule of thumb for a successful business lunch and impression is to listen more and talk less! On average, people report having a better experience when they were asked open-ended questions about themselves. A successful conversationalist doesn’t dominate the conversation but keeps it moving.