How to Break Bread Professionally

“Breaking bread” has been one of the most important acts between individuals for thousands of years. Kings hosted celebratory feasts, Christ broke bread with his disciples, and countless families have bonded over home cooked meals. Eating a meal with other individuals is a way of indirectly showing trust and friendship. Because of its importance, it is essential that you maximize your business lunch and dinner experiences. Here are a few suggestions for a successful business related meal:

  1. If you’re on a budget or time constraint, think café style. Look for places that you order your food at the counter and it is brought to you. It is also a quicker experience that allows you to get back to work sooner.
  2. If you’re not in an area that you’re familiar with, that’s okay. You can still find a great place to dine that meets your needs. Look to apps like Yelp or OpenTable that have ratings and reviews from customers on restaurants in your current area.
  3. Don’t be a slob! Avoid messy dishes and remember what your mother taught you. There is nothing wrong with being laid back with other professionals, but do not think that your actions and appearance at lunch will not carry over to the office in their mind.
  4. Don’t rush into business talk. Make sure the person you are eating with knows that you generally do care about them and want to build a relationship.
  5. If you are eating out with several people, try to get a consensus of what everyone is eating around you. Avoid ordering the cheapest meal and try to stay away from the most expensive ones. Let your appearance and personality do the talking, not your entrée.

If you’re not already taking a few meals out of your week to spend with clients or other business professionals, now is a great time to start. Get out there and break some bread!