About the Chapters

The Art of Professional Connections:
Dining Strategies for
Building & Sustaining Business Relationships


Dining Strategies for Building and Sustaining Business Relationships are not just about what knife or fork to use. There is much more involved. Whether you are interviewing over a meal, attending company meetings at the finest restaurants, trying to decipher a complicated menu and make an educated wine selection, or selecting the most effective seating arrangement, it is all about handling yourself with ease and confidence as you build solid business relationships.


Aspire to be a Master Diner! Doing business over a meal accompanies just about every event or meeting. Achieving “master diner” status is key. The master is always thinking ahead and knows how to read his or her guests’ comfort level. He or she understands every aspect of dining decorum. The meal can be as simple as a meeting over coffee or as elaborate as a formal business lunch. Whichever the case, there is a process involved that helps you achieve a productive meeting.

Globalization and the Internet has brought people together in unprecedented ways exposing us to a wide range of dining styles and expectations. This chapter will get you started. 






Be the authority! Know the difference between the five global styles of service and how to navigate a complicated formal table setting from plates and glassware to signature utensils. When you feel awkward or you are taken out of your comfort zone, it affects your table discussion.  Before you conduct or participate in a meeting over a meal in a formal setting (here or abroad), there are some “must knows” that will help you every step of the way. 

When the meeting is in a formal environment, this chapter will help you navigate flawlessly so that you can focus on the goal of the meeting, enjoy a wonderful meal, and develop relationships.






Ever been annoyed at someone at the dining table? Or, perhaps others found you annoying! The lack of table manners sends a message of disregard and cluelessness to one’s dining peers or clients. Don’t let that be you! Good table manners are a strong indicator of your people skills and your sensitivity to the enjoyment and needs of others. Let that be you!

This chapter covers numerous types of mishaps or dilemmas and guides you in handling awkward or challenging moments as you demonstrate courteous table manners. You name it, it is covered! See if you recognize yourself! 








Respect the restaurant staff! How you handle the server identifies YOUR character. It’s to your advantage to know how to effectively work with the restaurant. You accomplish this by knowing every aspect of the service and meal timing. This alone puts you in the powerful position of letting your dining guest know what to expect when. Building a strong relationship with a restaurant starts with being respectful of the staff and understanding restaurant protocols.

This chapter is based on established behind-the-scenes service protocols and serves as a wonderful training guide for a restaurant’s staff. 







Have you ever been handed a corporate card and told: “Here, take our client out to lunch while we put the final touches on the proposal?” Oftentimes there is no discussion as to the degree of formality, and no other instruction has been given to boost your comfort level when meeting the expectations of your superiors and guests. Remove potential pitfalls by knowing every phase of entertaining from making arrangements and meal pace to paying the check.

Every possible phase of arranging or attending a business meal (which includes all the “what ifs”) is covered in detail in this chapter. 






How often have you heard someone say, “Let’s do lunch,” and then nothing happened? It is a popular phrase, but it only has value when you follow through. We all mean well at the onset; then “busy-ness” takes over and the lunch initiative is forgotten. Perhaps you have been invited to a “power lunch,” but then were not quite sure what makes it so different, so important. Or, have you had the experience of being scheduled for an interview meal but did not realize how much your table manners and “social-ability” were part of the interview process?

This chapter will take you from setting up the appointment to bonding and building trust, from the start of the meal to the finish, whether it is a casual lunch, interview meal, or status dining. 





Have you ever experienced a confused moment when confronted with several options in a food court, buffet station, or formal banquet? Just where do you begin and end? Plus, coffee shops and fast-food eateries present a wonderful and inexpensive way to have brief meetings; however, they are also places of business. By using these cafés or eateries for meetings and not ordering, you risk sending a self-serving message that you would not hesitate to abuse a privilege. Is this the message you want to send? Always order something when you invite someone to meet you at an eatery! Celebration banquets are a privilege! If you make a reservation to attend a celebration banquet, show up! Do not be a no show because you took that opportunity to plan another activity. It sends a message of disregard.

This chapter will offer tips for food courts and corporate cafeterias to the respecting the protocols of celebration banquets. 





We drink beer; we sip wine. It can be mind-boggling to try to understand all the variations of wine and beer. Furthermore, while some wines are identified by region, others are identified by producer and by grape. Depending on the spice level of your food, sometimes beer makes the better pairing. Then there is the toasting protocol, and how to give a toast speech.  It’s all about positioning and timing!

This chapter will take you from beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and food pairings to toasting with class and finesse. 






Do ethnic restaurants sometimes make you feel like you need a translator or an interpreter? You are trying very hard to look savvy and order confidently, but you have no idea what to order, what to recommend, or even what you just ordered! Sound familiar? Plus, we are now offered experiences with fusion cuisines. It gets even more complicated. It takes curiosity and adventurous taste buds to venture into unfamiliar foods and their spices!

This chapter shares tips for the three most popular ethnic restaurantsChinese, East Indian, and Mexican to educate, create comfort, and enjoyment. 







Glossary | Need a menu cheat sheet? If you are not proficient in English, French, Spanish, and Italian, you may be in trouble when trying to understand the terminology of sophisticated menus. Furthermore, the influx of ethnic restaurants has made comprehending these menus even more important. And then there is the wine list and the cordial cart!

The main objective of this section is to help you get beyond menu phobias. A glossary of over 300 descriptions for food and wine are outlined in this chapter. This is a “must have” dining prep guide and serves as a great “cheat sheet” when dining out of your league or comfort level.





Planning and enjoying a successful meal-related meeting requires
attention to every detail from the initial reservation and  decorum to
paying the check and follow-up.
Make very business meal meeting flawless and
productive whether you are the host or guest.


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