Fine dining tips for the businessperson


Wharton Women hosted protocol expert Gail Madison at its annual etiquette dinner




Do you know which utensil goes with the amuse-bouche?

Wharton Women annually hosts an etiquette dinner intended to both clarify the rules of fine dining for participants and to impart greater business knowledge. The club, one of the largest undergraduate student organizations on campus, dined at the Water Works Restaurant and Lounge overlooking the Schuylkill River this Tuesday.

Wharton Women’s Vice President of Finance Ali Buchalter, a Wharton junior and the event’s main organizer, said the chef was so enthusiastic about the concept that he cooked eight courses rather than the three Wharton Women had originally planned.

Gail Madison, founder of The Madison School for Etiquette and Protocol, spoke at the event. The founding of the school was Madison’s response to “research indicating that far too many American businesspeople have inadequate knowledge of long-standing and often unspoken rules governing social and business interaction,” according to its website.

Here are three things Madison advises everyone to do during business dinners.

Don’t focus on the food

Consider eating before you go to a business dinner. ”[Madison’s] Her one big thing is that’s its not about the food — its about the company, the experience, the relationships building,” said Buchalter. Being preoccupied with hunger can detract from the intent of the dinner, she said.

Be kind to the waitstaff

How you interact with the staff of a restaurant says a lot about who you are as a businessperson, according to Madison. Conduct yourself however you wish with the business associates, Buchalter said, but make sure to treat the staff with courtesy.

Act at dinner as you would in any other business setting

Business and dining have a lot of parallels. And it is okay to mimic the behaviors of the dinner’s host, almost as you would take direction from your boss in the office. Even if the what the host is doing goes against typical etiquette standards, you can follow suit within reason — so when they start eating, assume that you can, too.

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