As in all relationship-driven cultures, business entertaining is an important part of the whole commercial process.

Take every opportunity to eat with your Indian colleagues and clients.

Business entertaining would rarely occur at a breakfast meeting as the working day starts in a more leisurely way than with a high-powered business meeting – and people often have a long commute in difficult conditions. Therefore, you are more likely to be invited out for lunch or dinner.

Food in India is invariably spicy and if you don’t like spicy food, you have to look quite hard for milder alternatives (often an omelette.) Food is usually offered as vegetarian or non-vegetarian options with the vegetarian dishes being in greater supply. It is perfectly acceptable to choose a non-vegetarian dish even if your host chooses vegetarian.
Remember that Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims don’t eat pork (or drink alcohol).

Eating in India can seem an informal affair where the use of the hands for eating is perfectly permissible – often even in the most expensive of restaurants. (If you find this difficult, eating implements will almost always be available.) It is always more polite to eat with the right hand than the left hand. People tend to start to eat as soon as their meal arrives rather than waiting for everybody to be served.

It is usual to leave a tip of around 10% when settling the bill.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in India

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

Free Download


This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in India. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in India and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips