Going out to eat with co-workers, your boss or prospective business partner can be daunting. Every time I am invited out, a million questions cross my mind. Who pays? What do you order? How much small talk do you make? I decided to sit down with the co-owner of East Thirty Six Julien Salomone and Chef de Cuisine Brent Maxwell to learn more about their insider tips on how to rock the business lunch.
When choosing a restaurant for your mealtime meeting, it is important to plan ahead and find a location with the right atmosphere. Inform the restaurant and your service staff ahead of time of your timelines for the lunch to make sure that they can coordinate the food (along with any dietary restrictions) with your meeting seamlessly. Look for private dining options or find a table with the perfect location and ambience that isn’t too noisy so that conversation flows.
Familiarize yourself with the menu ahead of time so you are informed of all of the best options and can order quickly. East Thirty Six offers a lunchtime menu of quick yet delicious lighter fare menu options to easily accommodate a larger group within the time constraints of the lunch hour.
Thinking of ordering ahead? East Thirty Six also offers a gourmet menu of shareable dishes perfect for functions of any size. With over twenty years in the hospitality industry, Chef Brent Maxwell and Julien Salmone know food. They recommended the chilled poached char for the perfect lunchtime option because it’s quick, delicious and perfect for a business affair.
The question of ordering alcohol depends largely on what the goal of your lunch is. Be aware of the context your meeting and order accordingly. When it comes to wine, make informed suggestions for the tables of what to order. Mixologist Julien Salmone recommends a nice light white wine like the McManis Viognier (California) or a full red like the Château Eugénie Cahors (France). In a more relaxed atmosphere, a martini or champagne based cocktail like the French Connection or the St Germain can be appropriate as well.
As the host, make sure conversation always runs smoothly and help facilitate and stimulate discussions with a few prepared questions or points. When it comes to handling the bill, remember your manners and always offer. Traditionally, whoever organized or arranged the meeting, covers the costs. Arrange with the restaurant ahead of time payment to avoid that awkward credit card limbo at the end of the meal.
So dress to impress, remember your manners and you’re all set to rock the business lunch! Bon appétit!
Images provided by East Thirty Six.