If you enjoyed this, please share:

At a business lunch, the focus should be on the client—not on a trail of ‘special sauce’ that escapes down the front of your shirt from an oversized burger. Two words: embarrassing, unprofessional.

The best practice is to avoid ordering anything that would fall into the category of messy, awkward, hard-to-eat, or unpredictable. The benefit:  your business lunch can focus on asking good questions instead of asking for more napkins. (A better time to enjoy those items is when dining casually with friends and family—or at the state fair!)


Business Dining Etiquette Tips: 5 Foods to Avoid at a Business Lunch.

  • Large burgers oozing with ‘special sauce,’ too much ketchup, or drippy sautéed mushrooms
  • Thick sandwiches that are challenging to bite into
  • Spaghetti. Period!
  • Ribs. Too messy—which makes it tempting to lick your fingers—a big etiquette faux pas.
  • French onion soup. It’s hard to win the war with the stringy, melted cheese on top (Ditto for queso dips with hard-to-tame stringy cheese).

What to order instead? Anything that’s fork, knife, or spoon friendly.  Good choices may include:

  • Entreé-sized salads (Be sure to cut lettuce into bite-size pieces, one bite at a time, not much larger than a postage stamp. Cut cherry tomatoes in half before eating.)
  • Soup and salad combos (But avoid soups with long noodles, such as pho. It’s hard to get those noodles to behave without flinging drops of broth on yourself.)
  • Plate lunches. (But, if peas are the veggie of the day, substitute broccoli instead.)
  • Anything that doesn’t require extra napkins!

Easy-to-eat foods allow you to focus on the client. Two words: smart, professional.