The best business lunch restaurants are those that satisfy most if not all your business lunch requirements and preferences. So, you must have a clear idea of what you want and don't want. You don't want a room that is too loud so you have to shout or, you don't want a room that is too quiet and fear of being overheard. In other words, you want acoustics that work.
You don't want restaurants that don't accept reservations, you don't want to wait in line and you don't want to sit at a table that has not been cleared yet.
You don't want tables that are too close together, you don't want servers who take forever to bring the lunch menus and, you don't want him or her to keep asking "is everything all right?".
You want a separate entrance area in which you can meet your customer, you want smiling faces and, you want menu suggestions. You want a clean restaurant, you want tables that are far enough apart for a private conversation and, you want available and knowledgeable staff members.
You want food and service that are good and proper, you want healthy restaurant menus and, you want suggestions and recommendations. In short, you want to keep your business lunch simple and effective and, you want to focus all our attention on your customer or prospect.
Don't be late, greet your business lunch restaurant date with a firm, warm handshake, suggest healthy lunch ideas from the lunch menu and, for you, order simple foods easily eaten with a fork and a knife.
Follow the server's cue on ordering, enjoy the conversation and file out socially talking about how you enjoyed the meal and about whatever business needs to be wrapped up. Give yourself a break. Ask your guest a question then take a bite so you can chew and swallow before having to speak again.
Use your social and communication skills, lead so that your guest always feels comfortable, trust yourself and be spontaneous.
If the discussion is going well and if your guest is showing no signs of wanting to make a break for it, feel free to continue. Order another cup of coffee and keep on listening.
It's always a good idea to chose a restaurant as close as possible to your prospect or customer's office so you can have more time to talk.
Finally, try to apply what you've learned during your lunch date to set up a follow-up meeting. Say something like "I have some ideas on how I can help your with that business concern you mentioned. Would you like me to meet you at your office sometime next week?
When you invite a customer or a prospect to lunch to discuss business, the host is the payer. You should always pick up the bill. However, if your guest offers to pay you refuse once and then you simply thank him or her and offer to pay the next time.
Always write a business lunch thank you card. Send a handwritten note whether you paid for the meal or not, whether the meeting was conclusive or not and whether you will see or not this person again.
Just a few lines telling your prospect you enjoyed talking with him or her and, if it is the case, that you look forward to meeting again. Then, make sure you call and make it happen.
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