|It's a lovely place indeed.|
Taking our clients -- and potential clients -- to lunch is one of our favorite business activities. Who doesn't like a nice meal with lovely people? It's also a good way to get to know your clients, and clients don't have to invest too much of their time: just an hour or two. We've previously written about the art of the business lunch, and now it turns out that we have an etiquette question that we have yet to resolve.
|Ready to eat!|
We just returned from a fantastic business trip to London, and we took one of our favorite clients to lunch at the venerable The Wolseley on Picadilly. It's a fancy and distinguished place, and as usual, we were a bit early. Our client had been kind enough to make the reservation in her name. The restaurant was happy to seat us, because it was clear that we knew about the specific reservation and had the client's last name, but the question is: Should one get the table before the other person arrives? Or wait at the bar? Or wait in the waiting area? As the restaurant and bar area were quite crowded, we decided to go ahead and get the table. Also, we had not yet met our client in person, and we figured if we sat at the table it would be easy for our client to find us and recognize us (there weren't many identical twins there, but still -- it's a big place). On the other hand, the potential downside to waiting at the table is that it might make the client feel like she's late, even when she's not, and sometimes it's hard to stand up and say hello properly , especially if seated in a booth (makes for an awkward handshake/hug).
We are still not quite sure how to really solve this, and much depends on the situation, available space at the restaurant and a few other factors, but think we came up with a good option last week. As with so many things in business, the answer probably is: it depends. However, if there's some straightforward etiquette rule on this that we are unaware of, we'd love to hear it. That's why are posting this here. What do you think, dear colleagues? How would you handle this situation? Does it depend on whether you've met the client previously?