How to Host a Business Dinner – Etiquette in Hosting a Dinner


We’re going to take the leap of faith here and assume that readers of this blog may be interested in some business etiquette tips. If you wear a suit to work, chances are that there will be a time when you’ll need to host a business dinner – hopefully, we’re right! :) Either way, some etiquette tips never hurt anyone…

First and foremost, a business dinner is led by the host in almost all aspects. In this case, we’re assuming that this is “you.”

Here is a list of tips that you need to keep in mind throughout the occasion:

  • When choosing the restaurant and dinner menu, make sure to take into consideration special dining requests from your guests (vegetarian, kosher, halal, allergies,…).
  • Communicate location/timing information in advance.
  • Make sure everyone knows the overall purpose of the dinner.
  • Confirm the attendance of your guests so that you don’t end up waiting for someone who won’t be coming.
  • Make sure that the dress etiquette is communicated as part of the invitation. Since this is a business dinner, we’re probably talking about a “formal” dinner, but that may not be the case. Just make sure that the level of formality is known by your guests.
  • Arrive early. You should be the first one at the location.
  • When you arrive, make sure to communicate all special requests to the maître d’. This is a good time to communicate payment information.
  • If you’re hosting the dinner, 9/10 times you will be paying for the meal. Make sure to communicate this with the maître d’  in advance.
  • When your guests arrive, intro them to each other.
  • Once everyone has arrived and it is time to get the meal started, it is your responsibility to communicate that with everyone. Once this has been done, take your napkin from the table and put it on your lap.
  • You are responsible for setting the tone in terms of what the guests should be able to order. If you order a drink, then it is appropriate for others to order one as well. The same goes for appetizers. In some cases, you may not want a drink but would like your guests to feel free to order one. If this is the case, simply let your guests know this… without forcing it of course :)
  • Generally speaking, the host will need to pass the bread around the table.
  • You will also need to let everyone know when they can begin their meal. If this is a big event, with lots of attendees, you may ask everyone to begin eating as soon as they receive their meal in order to avoid a cold dinner.
  • Once the meal is done, make sure to let everyone know that it is ok to order desert if you’d like for that to happen.
  • Try to handle the check discreetly.
  • Generally speaking, you should be the last one who leaves the dinner. When it’s a small dinner, everyone will likely leave at the same time.

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