wl sept 2019 2Kalamazoo is booming full of local businesses, from family owned, entrepreneurs following their dream, to fortune 500 companies. No matter the size, everyone needs a fun place outside of work to host a luncheon, dinner for client meetings, or team building. Meeting for a meal with a potential client, investor, or business partner still remains an excellent way to network and connect with people who could help further your career. In today’s world we often eat quickly at our desks or fast food on-the-go.  A business meal takes away other distractions and requires us to focus on real conversation and to help build relationships. 

Not sure where to start, or what to look for when planning a business luncheon/dinner? A lot of the same guidelines you use when pitching an idea at someone’s office, apply to business lunch or dinner as well.  First, determine the purpose of the business lunch or dinner you are planning. Keeping it causal?

Lunch is probably the best option, keeping it less formal and laid back. Looking to step up your game? Dinner tends to be more formal, so a nice steakhouse or bistro is always a great option. Hosting at the office? There are so many great restaurants in Kalamazoo that will cater and deliver for any occasion.

Choosing where to host can be the most difficult, as many people have different palettes. Not everyone may love the California Roll at your favorite sushi restaurant as much as you do, so try to avoid anything too exotic for the first meeting.

Be sure to choose a restaurant that you have been to at least a few times, this way you know both the food and service will be top-notch. Choose a place that is conveniently located to everyone. If you decide to try a new restaurant, be sure the menu has a fairly wide variety of different foods, including 1-2 vegetarian options. It never hurts to scope out the restaurant before deciding so you can see if it has the right atmosphere and vibe you’re looking for. Also browse over the menu to see what items they offer, prices, and any private rooms to see if the space is accommodating to your needs.

When hosting a more formal lunch or dinner, keep in mind you want to choose a place that has a little more privacy without the background noise of a busy restaurant. Most restaurants will have a private room to keep things professional yet fun. Those private rooms are also perfect for speeches and presentations.

For larger parties, always reach out to the restaurant a week or two in advance to go over any special pre-set menu options if you aren’t ordering off of the menu. Depending on the restaurant and size of the party, not every restaurant can accommodate a huge party ordering off the menu. If this situation arises, restaurants will usually give you three entrée options to choose from: Fish, Meat, Pasta, or Vegetarian option, that way there is something everyone will like.

Always communicate with your server about who gets the bill. Often it’s easier to give the server your credit card before guests arrive to avoid any awkward moments or interruptions at the end of the meal.  

Plan your business meal dinner from start to end accordingly. You never want to rush guests, so a time frame will help keep the flow of the meeting on track, especially if there’s a special speech, presentation, or toast.  

No matter where you choose to go, Kalamazoo offers so many wonderful restaurants with many different styles to suite any of your business needs!  

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