What foods should you avoid ordering at a business lunch — and are sandwiches among them? Reader M has a legitimate question, but some of the Google results I found on a preliminary search made me laugh out loud (including the brilliant, if outdated, Tumblr blog, 500 Still Frames of Joe Biden Eating a Sandwich). Here’s her Q:
What’s the proper procedure for eating a sandwich at a business lunch? Hands or knife and fork? Or should you avoid this altogether? I think you should follow the lead of your guests, but wanted to get a second opinion.
We’ve talked a lot about different aspects of this — from our top tips for business lunches, to how to stick to your diet at a business lunch (even a gluten-free diet), and even whether you can take leftovers from a business lunch — but I don’t think we’ve explicitly talked about what to avoid ordering. I’ll be honest — my gut reaction to Reader M’s question was that this verges on the “we’re thinking too much about this” side of things (although I was amused by the prospect of titling the post, How to Eat a Sandwich), but it’s a legitimate question — sandwiches can get super messy, with unexpected bites. I’ve been to way too many catered group lunches (particularly as a lawyer!) where the only option was sandwiches, though, so I don’t think there’s anything inherently unprofessional about picking up a sandwich and eating it. Still, unless we’re talking about an open face sandwich (or something obviously messy, like a drowned sandwich), a knife and fork seems like a bit much to me. So for my $.02, I’d say to pick it up with your hands and take the smallest, most delicate bites you can — chew thoroughly and repeat.
It got me thinking, though — what things would you never order at a business lunch, readers? [Read more...]