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Eating out with English-speaking business partners - whether in their country or yours - can be a more difficult experience than you might imagine. Here are some dangers and tips.
An inviting idea:
First you need to invite your business partner, for example, by saying „Would you care to join me for dinner this evening?” or „Would you like to go to lunch tomorrow?”
Tell me when:
Check which day or time is suitable by asking „Is Thursday convenient for you?”, „Does six o'clock suit you?”, or „Is eight o'clock OK with you?”. Replies might be „That sounds great”, „Thank you very much”, or, if you can't make it, „I'm sorry, but haven't really got time this week”. Remember also that if an English person says „half-seven” he means 7.30 not 6.30.
Wait to be seated!
A typical difference is the American system of waiting to be seated. You may be greeted as follows: „Hi there, my name's Sharon and I'll be your server today.” (Note: „server” rather than waitress or waiter). If you're asked for your name by the server, you should give your first name. This suggests a certain informality and equality. On the other hand, this informality and equality doesn't extend to sharing tables with strangers, which is not done in the US or (normally) Britain.