6 Things to Consider When Picking a Restaurant for Entertaining Clients

If you own a business, you’ve likely had to take clients out to a meal at least a few times. This can be for appreciation, to help close a deal with a prospect, to ask for referrals, or for any myriad other reasons. Unfortunately, if you don’t plan well, these meals can often get out of hand, quickly, from an expense standpoint, and can ultimately lead nowhere toward your goal. So to help you in planning your next meal, here are 6 things to consider to help you get the most out of it.

Time of Day – When you are meeting your client should have a huge bearing on where you decide to go. If cost is a concern, taking a client out to lunch can be a great way to cut costs while still going to a nicer establishment, as the lunch menu will be less expensive. Breakfast and brunch can often be very casual, as can an early lunch without feeling cheap. The type of food you get should also be dictated by when you go; as nice as that new French restaurant down the street from your office might be, it probably isn’t the place to go at 11:00 AM for lunch. Consider when you are going as you consider where you are going.

How Loud – Nothing can kill a proposal more than needing to repeat yourself. If you are giving an important proposal, trying to get signatures on a deal, or something else which requires communication, do not pick a loud restaurant. If your intent is simply to thank the client, then a loud, fun restaurant where you can laugh and drink might be more appropriate than a quiet, fancy place.

Location – If you plan on doing anything productive at the meal, your client needs to be in a good mood. Inviting them somewhere in the heart of downtown during rush hour or someplace 40 minutes away from where they work probably won’t put them in the best of moods. Try to be respectful of where your client will be, and you will have a much better result.

Cost – And, more specifically, cost verse reward. If you are taking a client out to thank them for business, but that business has only made you a few thousand dollars, you don’t want to eat all of that profit up in a very expensive dinner. But on the other hand, if you are meeting a prospect who could bring you tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in business, then the rewards probably outweigh the costs of just about any restaurant. You need to determine how valuable that meeting is, then pick a cost range from there.

Service – As we said, a happy client is a more likely to buy client, and nothing can annoy someone more than lousy service. A rude waiter who doesn’t refill drinks promptly or who messes up an order can kill the deal before you even get to propose it. Where you take your client is a reflection of you, and if you take them somewhere with bad service, that can be a poor indication of what you find acceptable.

Size – That really trendy gastropub that just opened by your client may seem like a great idea, but if you’re bringing out a larger group of people, it can be hard to get a reservation or worse, a table without a reservation in a smaller place. Be sure the restaurant you pick can accommodate your party when you plan to go, otherwise, you could be looking at a long wait time, which will upset your client and make you look bad.

Business meals and entertainment is an important part of any small business owner’s life, but by considering these 6 things when choosing a restaurant, you can improve your odds of success and cut down on needless expenses.

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