While many deals can be achieved in the office or boardroom, it is not uncommon for upper-level management to have to spend a lot of time entertaining clients both before a deal is agreed on and throughout the course of working with a client. Planning and foresight can make a big difference between a boring client dinner and an amazing meal that lets the client know that their business is important to your company. If you and your company need to entertain clients on a regular basis, use the following tips:
Become a Regular at a Restaurant
When taking important clients out to dinner, the last thing you want is to go to a restaurant where the food may be sub-par and the service leaves something to be desired. It is a good idea to dine at several top-rated restaurants in your area prior to entertaining your clients. This will ensure that when your client dinner happens you will know that the food and service will be top-notch.
Request a Table in Advance
A few days before the client dinner, call the restaurant and speak with the manager about reserving a table. Don't be afraid to request a specific table that you would like your party to sit at while you are entertaining clients. This will help prevent getting stuck sitting at a table near the kitchen or the restrooms.
Pre-Order Drinks and Appetizers
An easy way to let your clients know that they are important is by pre-ordering items so they are delivered to the table as everyone arrives. Order several types of appetizers and consider having wine at the table if you are confident that your client won't be offended by alcoholic beverages.
Create a Special Menu
Most top restaurants can create a specific prix-fixe menu with several different options that are customized for your party. Creating a special menu in advance can help show your clients that you put thought and effort into planning the dinner. You may also want to think about asking the chef to do a tasting menu for your party, which can help ensure that everyone has a very memorable meal.
Take Care of the Bill in Advance
Even if your clients know that you are taking care of the bill for the meal, it can be awkward when the check is presented to the table. Instead, make sure the restaurant has your credit card before your clients arrive. This way, you can discreetly sign the bill as you leave.
There are other options when it comes to client entertainment, but these are just a few tips for if your client entertainment revolves around a meal.