We all can eat and drink; we manage to do that without help… However, the question is how. Part of business etiquette is mastering table manners. Which fork or knife is to be used with which food? Which glass to use for which wine? Is the small plate on your left yours, or the one on your right? When can you start eating; should you wait until all other guests at the table have been served? What to do with your napkin during and after dinner? Can you put your mobile phone and keys on the table?
Apart from table manners also a basic knowledge of wine and food comes in handy; it shows a certain degree of “civilisation”. You are not expected to be a walking wine encyclopedia, but not knowing the difference between an bordeaux (or, as the English say: claret) and a bourgondy is another matter; as is not knowing that beef comes from a cow instead of from a pig, to name one.
It is useful, or rather necessary, to feel secure where table manners and basic knowledge of food and drinks are concerned, so as to avoid embarrassing situations during business dinners…
But wining and dining is more than that: is it a social element in the relationship with a client. Will it be a sandwich with a glass of milk or a three course dinner in a good restaurant? When is it allowed to talk business? Which topics are better avoided? Who picks up the bill? All these things are equally important.
These things can be practiced by way of “dry practice” or during a lunch or dinner in a restaurant.