Mistake #40: Fail to follow business dining etiquette!

I am going to make it loud and clear: I hate business dining with a particular consultant. He is worse than having a kid with you while dining and trying to conduct business at the same time. I have to go out to dinner with him once a month when he comes into the office and I dread the monthly meetings because of it!


Let me give you an idea of what goes on:

  • He asks tons of questions about the specials and makes it a group discussion. Why can’t we just hear what they are and decide for ourselves? “It has what?” “Can you repeat the first one?” “Does that sound good to you?”
  • He always wants something OFF the menu. My favorite and most recent was asking for shrimp parmesian. The chef had to come out of the kitchen to discuss it with him. It became a 15-minute discussion.
  • Appetizers arrive. Instead of passing the plate, he has to dish the appetizers out to everyone. Is there a control thing going on here, or what?!
  • Immediately after the meal is served, the waiter/waitress asks: “Would you like anything else?” “No”, he replies, “I think we’re all set.” But he isn’t. Immediately after the waiter walks away, there is something else he needs. So, he waves his hand and shouts for the waiter as if there is a football game going on right behind him.
  • During the meal, he may see that he likes what I’m having. So, guess what happens next: he takes his fork and starts taking bites out of what is on my plate! Now, I grew up in a household with four younger brothers. I have learned NOT to share. Sorry, but it destroyed my marriage, and that is another story for another time. But, how disgusting! At least ask if you can have a bite!!
  • What he orders isn’t really quite right. Once he ordered a peppered pork chop. He was almost choking as he went through six bites and had to wave down the waiter to order something else. “I didn’t want to make a big deal out of what I ordered.”  But he did.
  • His cell phone rings. It’s his girlfriend. Instead of getting out of his chair and leave the table, which, in many cases he can’t because he INSISTS on having a booth (no matter how large the other guys are) and he is sitting inside the booth, not on the outside, so he continues to talk to his girlfriend to tell her he’ll call her later. Why didn’t he turn it off before the meal? Hell, who knows!
  • After the meal, he always wants to see the dessert menu. He may not order dessert, but wants to see it. So, if he can’t find the waiter, he literally gets out of the chair and goes to the hostess to help him track down our table waiter or waitress.
  • The waiter comes to the table (thinking that everyone is done eating) and starts gathering the empty plates. “No!” this consultant shouts! “We’re not done eating yet!” Ugh! At this point, of course, I feel like hiding under the table.

And, at the end, I take out my company business card and pay for the meal.


3 responses to “Mistake #40: Fail to follow business dining etiquette!

  1. Can you order a plate of gourmet sandwiches a few salads, and a dessert from a nearby eatery and just have the meeting in your office?

  2. I wished it was that easy! This is for dinner, and the office is located farther from where I live and where we house consultants in a nearby hotel. So, it’s a restaurant, or he eats alone. If I didn’t join him, my CEO would be calling me in asking why that is the case. I’d rather just suck up right now…

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