Business entertaining forms an integral part of business life in Brazil and business meals can be lengthy affairs.
Do not be surprised to spend two hours over lunch and three hours or more over dinner. If you are entertaining business guests, make sure that you do it in style — do not be tempted to cut corners.
Business meals are really about getting to know each other as people so don’t be tempted to try to use the meal as an extension of a meeting. Keep the conversation at the social level and if business is to be discussed, wait until the coffee is served.
Brazilians tend to use their knife to cut up the food and then place it against the plate whilst continuing to eat using only the fork. All food is eaten with a fork — don’t use your fingers as this is considered bad form.
Although most social events will start much later than the official start time, it is good idea to arrive at any business functions on time — you may find that you are the first person there, but then again, you may not.
Most restaurants will automatically add a 10% service charge on to the bill, but it is still a good idea to leave a further tip of between 5 — 10%.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
Brazil is a country with almost limitless potential. The problem is that Brazil has been a country with almost limitless potential for many decades but very, very little of that potential has actually been realised. The country seems to be constantly trapped in a cycle of political corruption leading to economic crisis followed by periods of growth which breed renewed optimism.
In addition, Brazil is a notoriously difficult country from a market entry perspective with massively protectionist policies being further complicated by very strongly pro-employee legislation and a labyrinthine system of inter-state taxes.
Having said all of that, Brazil is rich in mineral wealth (you name it and it can be found in Brazil) and has a rapidly growing population which is predominantly young and aspirational. There is also a growing recognition in the country that the historical inherent barriers to growth must be tackled and upsurge in populist demands for changes to happen.
The only way is up for Brazil and that makes it a very attractive mid to long-term investment opportunity. If you are thinking of doing business in Brazil now is probably the time to start the process. Many foreign companies have successfully navigated the complexities of Brazil and built solid businesses there in the past and the future looks bright.
If you speak to business people who have worked in Brazil they will all tell you the same thing – that the key doing successful business in Brazil is to develop a deep understanding of Brazilian commercial culture. You really to need to study the work-related culture and work out how you can best attack the market and develop those all-important early relationships.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Brazilian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on: