Inviting customers to dinner seems the most normal thing in the world. But what are the key factors to ensure the event is a success?

Unlike many other situations, this is one where the host should be dominant. When you arrive at the restaurant, you should go ahead so that you can hold the door for your customers. Once inside you should also take the initiative, asking staff where your table is and inviting your customers to take a seat when you arrive at it. Pulling out chairs for them is, however, an absolute no-go. What matters more is making sure that you order for your guest first and then yourself. If you need to visit the bathroom, a brief “Excuse me” or “Sorry” followed by the explanation that you would like to “freshen up” is sufficient.

When the meal is finished you should, wherever possible, pay the bill as discreetly as possible and not in front of your customers. Don’t try to help male guests into their coats – healthy men are capable of doing this alone. Ask women politely if they would like you to help them into their coats. Doing so without asking could result in a rebuff that is embarrassing for both parties.