Successful Entertaining in Portugal

Business entertaining forms an essential part of business development activities in Portugal.

It is considered very normal to invite business contacts for either lunch or dinner — although breakfast meetings are far less common. Lunch usually starts at about 1pm and will last for at least two hours whilst dinner will commence at some time between 8pm and 9:30 and can last for up to three hours.

Mealtimes are used for cementing relationship ties rather than discussing business details – so be wary of starting to talk business unless the topic is raised by your Portuguese counterpart. You should use this time to get to know your Portuguese guests or hosts more fully as people. Family, holidays, sports, your impressions of Portugal etc. will often be discussed on these occasions.

Wine is very often drunk during business meals — although it is becoming somewhat less common at lunchtime.

Service charges are often not included on the bill (except in good hotels) and you should therefore leave a tip. A 5% tip would be normal; 10% is generous.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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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 Portugal. 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 Portugal 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