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By Robert Ancill on May 04, 2017

Its always a guest choice on priority regarding “what to order”.


in Do You Have to Order What Your Host Suggests?

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Thank you for your comment Brenda. I’m assuming you’re referring to...

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posted Feb 28, 2014 in Etiquette & Manners / Dining / by Terry Pithers / 2 comments

Do You Have to Order What Your Host Suggests?

Business Dining Etiquette Tips & Table Manners Advice Q & A

Business etiquette and image consultants share table manners tips and adviceQ. – Is It Rude To Not Order What Your Host Suggests?

My colleague, Shannon and I were guests at a recent business lunch and Jim, the host, suggested the prime rib was excellent. What was the correct dining etiquette for this situation?

Shannon, who is on a diet, ordered a lighter chicken dish but I thought it might be rude to ignore the host's suggestion. So even though I secretly would have liked the chicken, I ordered the prime rib. Who was right, Shannon or myself?

- Debby Feelincheated in Ohio

A. - Dear Debby

Too bad, Shannon was right. You could have ordered the chicken too and you would not have been rude.

Jim, your host, was right to make a menu suggestion. But the proper table manners rule is that you don't have to follow the host's recommendation.

Extra Advice: Why make a menu suggestion?

A good host should always make a menu recommendation for two reasons. The first reason is fairly obvious; they're letting you know what's a good choice, which is handy if guests are not familiar with the restaurant.

The second reason is subtler. The host is giving you a clue as to the price range you could confidently order.

It would be a faux pas to order something much more expensive than the suggestion, say the lobster at ‘market price’ (code for mucho expensive and also a bad choice for business dining - never order anything that requires a bib). 

Bonus Business Dining Tip

Another subtle tip: So while you do not have to order what the host recommends, if you're dining one-on-one, especially with a new business contact, you will build more subconscious rapport by following their menu suggestion.

Posted by Terry Pithers - Canadian Business Dining Etiquette Expert and menu suggestor
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Terry Pithers

About Terry Pithers

Canadian speaker, humorist and business etiquette expert. If you are interested in booking (Terry) for a presentation, keynote or workshop contact me or visit my conference page. Based in the Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

2 comments below

...add yours

Mar 20, 2014 at 11:34am

John B. says:

Hi Joanne and Terry,
I met Baris, a colleague in Toronto this past Sunday. I mentioned to Baris that I had a late breakfast and was not very hungry. He insisted that we go for a light lunch. I acquiesced, so we went to Pizza Pizza.  Without making any suggestions from the menu, he took it upon it himself to order a large side of fries and a pizza for each of us. He insisted that it was the wisest choice on the menu. The waiter presented the most colorful pizza to us. It had bright green broccoli, chicken, feta cheese and the brightest red tomatoes I had ever seen. Simply scrumptious.

May 04, 2017 at 4:02am

Robert Ancill says:

Its always a guest choice on priority regarding “what to order”.

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