Successful Entertaining in Spain

Lunch is the main meal of the day and business discussions and deals are often conducted during working lunches — although business is likely to be discussed during the later stages of any meal.

These lunches can often last more than two to three hours and often don’t start until 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm. The meals are often quite large with a number of courses and wine being served. Try not to see this as wasted time — it is an essential part of the relationship building process.

Dinner is often a lighter meal, and is usually not begun until around 10: 00 pm which people from many other cultures find extremely late. It is customary for the person who extends the invitation to pay the bill.

Do not be surprised to be taken outside the office to a coffee house during the day. These informal chats over a coffee are one of the best places to build relationships and many of these offline conversations are the most useful for information gathering, testing the water etc.

Almost all eating establishments include a service charge in the bill. However, it is still customary to leave a tip of about five to ten per cent in restaurants.

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

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 Spain. 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 Spain 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