Picking the right venue

Ms Manners,

I’m going out for a business lunch with my boss and new client and he said I should pick a restaurant. I don’t know what sort of place to choose. Help!


Pretend you are like a location scout on a film, and try restaurants, nicer restaurants, pubs, nicer pubs, bars, nicer bars, cafes and nicer cafes in your area.


Know your neighbourhood and start to create brain file notes of appropriate places that you trust and know to take clients, colleagues, investors, in-laws and well, anyone.


Here are just a few reasons on why I use the words “trust” and “know” when referring to locations:

  1. Know trading times as you don’t want to go to a bar and they call ‘last drinks’ just as you all take the first sip.
  1. The restaurant wait staff might be notoriously rude.
  1. The restaurant may be too refined/”pompous” for your client’s taste. You should be able to read your client and if you feel they would be more comfortable talking business while having a pub meal then give your client what they want.

    The client will not be at ease in an environment that they can’t relax in and thus will not be concentrating on the meeting’s purpose as they are too busy wondering what food he actually ordered because everything on the menu was in French.

  1. Some venues have special nights. Example: student nights, ladies night or adult nights.

    You might like the look of an inner city bar but your client might not believe you when you say that you didn’t know it turned into a topless waitress night after 9pm on Tuesdays.

I have a list of places I know and trust in different cities I frequent for work. For example (and these are the things you should look out for when scouting), in our nation’s capital, I always take clients and all my favourite people to Aubergine as this restaurant has a very comfortable environment.


It is fine dining however I trust and know that the staff are always so great about making the menu approachable and understandable. Find this place for you and your clients.


You do not want your client/boss/in-laws being uncomfortable and wanting the meal to end so they can leave.


Etiquette is not just about food and wine, it is all about making your guest comfortable in your presence and this includes selecting the right environment.


Once you find your “trust and know” places then make sure you are always upto-date with the menus. Most change seasonally.


Do not take guests to fine dining if you don’t understand half of the menu and you are constantly having to ask what each item is.


Know what you will order before your meeting and know what all the options are so you are not asking for an itemised list of all the dishes.


Enjoy your new confidence and the game of etiquette.


Kind Regards,

Ms. Manners


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