Q&A: What to wear for a client lunch?

Back in the day I led our division’s social committee which saw me organise events for our team of around 200 people. Even though this wasn’t THAT long ago it was before Broadsheet and UrbanSpoon were more commonly used – so I found was often answering questions around “where to take clients or staff out for coffee or lunch?” One variation of this question was, “where can I take a client for lunch or dinner where we won’t be seen by staff from rival firms”? When taking out a client, you normally want the opportunity to be able to understand their business more which calls for a setting where they speak candidly without the fear of being heard by neighboring tables. One answer to this? A hotel restaurant. See, the beauty of a hotel restaurant is that staff are reliably professional, courteous and discreet; making it easy to focus on business at hand.

I was reminded of this recently when I was invited to take some friends to experience dinner at the Allegro at The Westin. The Westin is just one of the hotels SPG have in its portfolio of properties in Australia and Fiji. SPG are currently running a “Savour and Save” promotion where members can receive up to 25% off meals.

What to wear when taking entertaining client

Taking out a client? The purpose is to build a rapport or strengthen the existing relationship which means be prepared with an answer in case they ask you what the dresscode for your lunch or dinner is. For formal, I say “it’s formal so your usual corporate attire is fine”, if it is more casual then I usually say ‘Business Casual – what you normally wear to work but a little more relaxed.”

Generally dress in the way that you would when formally meeting with the client but express a little more polish or personality to help set the tone of your lunch/dinner. Remember that once seated the focus will be on the top half of your torso and your hands so remember to wear a pressed/ironed top – or hide that like I do by layering a jacket, accessorising and having groomed hair and nails.

For gents, this is an opportunity for fine shirts, blazer (don’t forget to unbutton your jacket completely when you sit down), cufflinks and if you can a manicure!

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My style – a dressy take on Business Casual: I’m wearing earrings from The Estelle, ASOS duster coat, Strateas Carlucci top, She Inside skirt, Lovisa cuffs and Zara shoes. FYI my statement earrings may be OTT for meeting with a corporate client (I was meeting with my girls on this particular occassion!) but I stand by the double-cuffs!

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Chefs at Allegro Restaurant – just some of the friendly faces during our visit.

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Entree of Confit Salmon.

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The Allegro has a terrace which opens up over City Square creating quite the backdrop!

Giveaway

Want to experience a SPG restaurant for yourself whether it’s for work, personal or romantic purposes?

We have a $100 voucher for one reader to win which can be used at any SPG venue.

In Melbourne you could also head to The Lobby Lounge (also at The Westin) or Little Collins St Kitchen.

To go into the running, simply leave a comment below! You can also email your entry to me at cheryl[at]businesschic[dot]com[dot]au with the subject line: BusinessChic SPG Giveaway

Entries close midnight (AEST) on Wednesday 18th February. Winner will be notified via email.

Good luck!

Comments

  1. Love the outfit -especially the skirt. I don’t get to go out of the office often but we host a lot of client meetings which I assist with setting up & support for. I always struggle with getting the balance between ‘meeting dress’ and ‘office dress’ right as we dress more business/smart casual.

  2. oh I love these tips! I’ve never had to take a client to a lunch meeting but this is a good idea. I’ll share with my friends who meet with clients 🙂

  3. I love your outfit Cheryl! That skirt! And the earrings from Estelle!!!
    Love your advice! Of making sure your top half is in tip top shape!

    x Luci

  4. For client meetings I also make sure to bring an iPad to show any presentations and a stylish notebook that can fit in my bag so I’m not fumbling with too many items back and forth from client meetings! Not to forget – a glossy lip stain that fades gracefully while you eat and drink!

  5. In my industry we don’t do much lunching with clients, so I would never have thought of a hotel. Once you pointed it out it seemed super obvious though!

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