Successful Entertaining in Mexico

As in many relationship-oriented cultures, business entertaining is crucial. A lot of business meetings take place at breakfast meetings and, more commonly, at lunch.

Both Breakfast and lunch meetings can be lengthy, lasting in excess of two hours.

There is no hard and fast rule concerning conversational topics over business meals. Sometimes business issues will be discussed — sometimes they will not. Try not to be the first to raise the topic unless it is essential. Use this time as an opportunity to develop personal relationships – ask them about their family and favourite football (soccer) team.

Meals are often hearty affairs (even breakfast) with large amounts of food being served at each meal. Alcohol will be offered with lunch and dinner but is more often taken at dinner time. Follow the lead of your Mexican host in this matter.

It is usual for the person who issues the invitation to pick up the bill although this rule is sometimes overlooked in a supplier – client situation. If you are the client it is probably best to offer to pay even if you have been invited. Never split the bill as this will be seen as poor protocol.

Tips are not always included in the bill. You should leave a tip of at least 10% which should preferably be given directly to the waiter in cash.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

Free Download


As part of the world’s largest trading block (NAFTA), Mexico must be an attractive potential market. It is strategically positioned between North and South America and as such is a great base for further expansion in the region. In addition, Mexico has negotiated a strategic network of free trade agreements which give it preferential access at least 46 countries with a combined population of in excess of one billion people.

Whilst Mexico does represent an attractive market entry proposition and doing business in Mexico is likely to bring rewards, there are several impediments which need to be taken into consideration. Bribery and corruption remain a problem – although progress is being made in this area – and organised crime still poses a serious threat both in the cities and the regions. Mexico could also be considered a little too dependent on the robustness of the US economy – if the States is doing well, Mexico is usually flourishing as well.

However, one of the key considerations you need to factor in when looking at doing business in Mexico is the local business Culture. Mexico might have a border with the USA but their business cultures are poles apart. Whereas the USA puts business firmly before relationships in business dealings, Mexico is the exact opposite. In a strongly hierarchical culture, who you know and how well you know them are absolutely critical to success. You need to forge great relationship and you need to know how to forge those relationship. Take the time to make the right type of contact and you will be rewarded.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Mexican business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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