Cherry Hill, NJ
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Joyce Hoff
Socializing on a Shoestring:
How to Wine and Dine Customers in Tough Economic Times
The economy is in turmoil and your budget is restricted. Yet socializing with your customers is still an important way to cultivate business. But how do you continue to entertain business clients and still be fiscally responsible?
According to business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of "NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead", (Prentice Hall Press), you don't have to spend a small fortune to have a good meal. "You just need to do it smartly," Pachter says. "You can still be a gracious host and stay within a budget"
Pachter offers these nine tips for socializing when funds are tight:
1. PICK THE RESTAURANT CAREFULLY. There are many excellent restaurants at different price ranges. Get recommendations from other people, visit the restaurant yourself, or check the menu prices on the restaurant's web site. You can also explain your choice to your guest by saying something like, "I know this great Italian restaurant. It has excellent calamari which I know is one of your favorite dishes"
2. MAKE SUGGESTIONS IN THE MID-PRICE RANGE. As a host it is your responsibility to make recommendations to your guest. You don't have to recommend just the most expensive items.
3. DON'T ORDER THE SPECIALS UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PRICE. Many waiters don't give the price when telling you their specials of the night. It can be uncomfortable to ask the price of an item in front of your guest. Specials can cost from 10 – 40 percent more than the regular menu items.
4. MANAGE THE ORDERING OF THE WINE. Learn a little about wine so you can take charge of the ordering of the wine. There are lots of good wines at reasonable prices. Check the wine list. It is often posted on the restaurant's web site or you can talk to the wine steward ahead of time. If you turn the wine choice over to your guest, he/she may order a much more expensive wine than you would have chosen.
5. PREORDER THE DINNER, IF HOSTING A NUMBER OF PEOPLE. You can usually pick three entrees ahead of time. Many restaurants will print a special menu for your guests. Speak to waiters before the meal and instruct them not to refill the wine glasses unless the glass is empty or the guest has asked for more. Waiters will pour freely, increasing your bill, unless instructed not to do so.
6. STAY SOBER. It is easy to lose control and forget your budget if you have had too much to drink. Order a drink you don't like and you can nurse it all evening.
7. DISCREETLY USE ANY COUPONS YOU MAY HAVE. With sales down, many restaurants are offering discount coupons. You can arrange ahead of time to have the check paid away from the table so your guest does not see the bill paying.
8. BE GRACIOUS YET SET SOME LIMITS WHEN YOUR GUESTS WANT TO CONTINUE THE EVENING. You can take your guests to the bar or another location, explain why you can't stay (make it a good reason—early meeting), but buy the first round before you excuse yourself.
9. IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE DINNER. Lunch and even breakfast can provide an opportunity to socialize with your customers during a less expensive meal.
Barbara Pachter is a speaker, coach and author of numerous business books, including "The Power of Positive Confrontation" ($14.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.) and "When the Little Things Count" ($13.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.).
She specializes in business etiquette and communication, and teaches dining/etiquette for companies worldwide. Her client list features major organizations, including Microsoft, Pfizer, Chrysler, Cisco and Genentech.
For a review copy of "NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead," contact: Catherine Milne, 212-366-2149, or Catherine.Milne@us.penguingroup.com
For a free copy of Pachter's communication e-newsletter, "Competitive Edge," your readers can call (856) 751-6141 (NJ) or go to www.pachter.com.
Cherry Hill, NJ