When it comes to business dining, the rules differ significantly from those you’d follow during a casual meal with friends and family. Business meals carry a more formal tone, whether they involve a one-on-one meeting or a larger group gathering.

Regardless of your role as the host or guest, adhering to proper dining etiquette is crucial. From punctuality to consideration for dietary preferences and treating wait staff with respect, there are several key aspects to keep in mind when attending a business dinner. In this article, we’ll outline six mistakes you should steer clear of during such occasions.

Here Are Six Blunders to Avoid at a Business Meal


Arriving late for a business lunch or dinner can leave a negative impression, especially if you’re the host. Make a point to arrive a few minutes early to welcome your guests courteously. Time is valuable for everyone involved, so being punctual demonstrates respect and professionalism. As a guest, it’s equally important to be mindful of your host’s time.

3.Excessive Ordering

One common mistake is overindulging in food during a corporate meal. Remember that the primary purpose is to discuss business, and the meal is a secondary aspect. Save your culinary indulgences for outings with friends or family. Additionally, avoid ordering messy or overly expensive dishes, especially if you’re the guest.

3.Neglecting Table Manners

Maintaining proper business dining etiquette is crucial during these meals. Always place your napkin on your lap to prevent clothing stains while eating. Take small, discreet bites, and refrain from talking or making unpleasant sounds while chewing. Offer to pass dishes to others if they are out of their reach.

4.Excessive Alcohol Consumption

The choice to order alcohol during formal business gatherings varies from person to person. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, and inquire if your fellow diners are comfortable with it. If others are abstaining, consider opting for non-alcoholic beverages. While there are no strict rules, it’s generally best to minimize alcohol consumption during these occasions and save it for more relaxed events.

5.Rushing Through the Meal

In a formal setting, rushing through your meal while others are still eating can come across as inconsiderate and impolite. Take your time, savor each bite, and chew your food thoroughly instead of hurriedly swallowing it. These seemingly minor gestures can help you leave a positive impression on others.

6.Rudeness toward Wait Staff

One of the gravest mistakes you can make during a business meal is displaying rudeness toward the wait staff. Such behavior can create a negative first impression, potentially deterring your client or partner from engaging in productive discussions. Disrespectful conduct towards anyone is unacceptable, and it is especially egregious during corporate dinners. Always treat the wait staff with the utmost respect.

The next time you attend a business meal, keep these tips in mind to ensure you leave a lasting, positive impression.

Last Updated: 27 September 2023