Depending on whether you wish to organize a breakfast, lunch or dinner… business.
Whether you wish to thank a colleague, celebrate a professional event, invite your teams for the quarterly meal, invite a loyal client or a client you court, bring together several guests in good relationship or in a conflict situation…
Depending on the time you have, the places where your guests come from, the budget you have defined, the preferences or intolerances of everyone you know or just don’t know, the cultural or religious mix of your guests…
How then to choose the restaurant for your next business meal if your story was the following:
Your name is Peter, you are 45 years old and manage a small department of 5 people in the energy sector. You wish to introduce one of your collaborators, Natasha, to Mr Hong, director of a department at one of your loyal customers.
You want to take care of this meeting because you have been personally managing the commercial relationship with Mr Hong for 8 years. You want to make sure that he has not been disappointed by this change and that he places his full trust in Natasha, in whom you place great hopes.
You can’t afford to lose this customer, or even risk losing the business you do together. Natasha even has important growth objectives for this sector for the coming year.
You have proposed to Mr Hong to organise this meeting during a lunch of which you wish to take the initiative. In view of this invitation, you have taken care to contact his assistant in order to know his availability, constraints, preferences and habits.
You now have to meet all the criteria to choose the restaurant.
Here are the criteria that we suggest you meet, rank them in order of importance, this will lead you straight to the choice of the restaurant, the most suitable for your meal:
1. The choice of the meal:
You have been in a relationship with Mr Hong for 8 years, you know each other too well to speed up Natasha’s introduction over breakfast but you can’t imagine either, at this stage of your relationship, having a dinner with Mr Hong (and probably his wife) while being yourself with Natasha, your colleague. This may seem inappropriate. Lunch is therefore the most appropriate format for this meeting.
2. The date:
Mr Hong, Natasha and yourself can make yourself available next Tuesday or Friday. Prefer Tuesday, because first of all you want the presentations to take place as soon as possible, then it will allow Natasha to rebound after lunch in the days following lunch and finally, if it were to be cancelled on Tuesday, it would allow you to reposition it possibly on Friday.
3. The place:
Your offices are quite far from Mr Hong’s so you will target a restaurant near his offices instead. You know that he only has 2 hours and you want to focus on the time you will share at the table. Mr Hong at his addresses in his office district (Tanjong Pagar) but they are also those of his collaborators and you could meet some competitors there. You will therefore choose a district close to your client’s but far enough away not to meet your acquaintances.
4. The budget
The budget will have to be perfectly adapted to the relationship you have, both with Mr Hong and Natasha, the purpose and challenge of your lunch and the history of your previous lunches with Mr Hong. The idea of this lunch is not to impress Mr Hong but to honour him with his trust, and to show him that it is important to you is to introduce him with great care to Natasha, in whom you have every confidence.
5. The accessibility
Mr Hong travels by subway so make sure that the restaurant is not far from a station.
6. The deadline:
As you only have 5 days left before the lunch date, so as not to waste too much time, rule out restaurants that are very popular, those with only an ultra limited number of places to eat or only one service and those that do not accept reservations. In the same way, don’t risk taking a reservation left on the waiting list, it would be a shame if this lunch turned into a fiasco due to lack of space.
7. The menus and the menu:
Avoid restaurants offering a single menu or a blind menu, avoid restaurants that offer a limited or very specialized choice on seafood for example, if you are not sure of Mr Hong’s qualities as an explorer. In any case, always favour restaurants that work with fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, which is always a very good omen.
Thanks to the advice of his assistant, and your previous lunches together (if you have kept a “logbook”), you have had some information about Mr Hong’s tastes: you know that Mr Hong enjoys tasting Bordeaux wine and that he loves à la carte desserts. So make sure that the restaurant offers what they like best or dishes that you think you can introduce them to with guaranteed success.
8. The quality of service is always very important
Above all, you want to honour your host, so make sure that the restaurant honours him too. A negligent service can jeopardize all the precautions you have taken to make your lunch a success.
9. The frame and the dress code
Keep out of “too much” (too much romantic, too much festive or too much formal) settings at the risk of making your guests uncomfortable.
Analyze some details about the care taken in decorating the restaurant: The presence of floral decoration composed of fresh flowers and cloth napkins and tablecloths is a good indicator of the quality of the setting. On the other hand, comfort will not necessarily be a criterion for your choice of lunch with Mr Hong.
10. The table
As you will be 3 guests, choose a restaurant with round tables and make sure to ask for a round table when booking.
11. Air conditioning or terrace
At this time of year, prefer a table inside and in an air-conditioned restaurant because even if the terrace is tempting, give it up, Mr Hong will surely want to stay fresh.
The content of the lunch with Mr Hong does not require a confidential space. The setting should nevertheless be calm and intimate enough to allow you to exchange serenely, especially with Natasha, while being friendly enough for Natasha and Mr Hong to meet each other in a pleasant way.
13. The bill
The payment methods do not differ much from one institution to another, but… as you are the one who invites, check this point! The bill will have to be paid with class and discretion, as you well know.
14. Cancellation possibilities
You wouldn’t want to have to cancel this invitation for anything in the world, but… life is full of risks, it’s better to keep in mind the cancellation conditions if you had to pay a deposit. If there is a high risk of cancellation for this lunch with Mr Hong, choose a restaurant that will not ask you to pay a deposit.
And, of course, once your short-list is established, compare your choice with the opinions of consumers.
Which restaurants, meeting these 15 criteria, would you advise Peter to organize this lunch?
We are looking forward to your suggestions!