As a restaurant located in the heart of one of Bryanston’s business/office nodes, we often have people joining us for a business lunch or dinner. Sometimes it’s a meal to get away from the hustle and bustle, more often than not, it’s an important meeting over a meal.¬†Doing business over a meal is a ritual that has existed for centuries, and has long been an effective way to build relationships, make the sale or seal the deal.

We’ve been told that we’re a great restaurant for these types of meetings, and while we’re pretty sure we understand why people say that, we decided to do some research on what makes the best restaurant for a business lunch, or dinner?

Esquire had this to say about a business meal:

A business meal is not about the food. It is essentially a more convivial extension of a staid office meeting, a way to charm or even seduce a client. And while one’s familiarity with a client’s tastes and preferences can be helpful in selecting the right restaurant, it is far more beneficial to one’s game plan to hold the lunch or dinner with the home-field advantage, a place where you are known, a regular whose own preferences come into play.

Why Your Restaurant Choice Matters?

Very simply, if your guests enjoy themselves, they’ll remember you fondly in the future. Relationships are critical in business and having people both remember you, and have good memories of a lunch or dinner experience with you, creates all sorts of benefits and opportunities in the future. A meal isn’t just the sum of the food ingredients. The correct experience, ambience, service, choice of dishes, etc all contribute to the memories people are left with. A good rule of thumb is to avoid choosing a restaurant that’s too large, too loud, or too trendy.

Know your Guests

Do you best to know the preferences of your guests. This doesn’t only include what food they do and don’t eat, but also what food they prefer, and what they’ve been eating during the past week (especially if they’ve been travelling a lot). There will be times where you can’t gather this type of information. In those situations you can either offer them a choice of restaurants and allow them to pick, or you can choose a restaurant where you know the Chef will work with your guest’s preferences to ensure they have a great meal.

Avoid Franchises

While you might think that a franchise restaurant is a safe choice, they don’t make for very memorable eating experiences. It’s always a good idea to choose somewhere local. You want to give your guest a taste of your local favourite, that doesn’t exist anywhere else. These types of restaurants are often owner run, and getting to know the owner can help to create a more intimate feel and experience.

Do a Recce

If you’re still unsure which restaurant to choose,¬†call ahead or preferably go in for a meal on your own and talk to the manager / owner, describe your situation, and ask for their advice on how best to accommodate you? You’ll know by their response if you’ve found what you’re looking for.