Most business entertaining takes place over lunch or dinner. (Breakfast meetings are fairly unusual.) In fact, there is quite a tradition of business entertaining in Sweden and people will enjoy being invited out to a good restaurant.
Meals are taken relatively early in Sweden with lunch being taken between 12:00 — 13:00 and dinner as early as 18:00 — 19:00.
Swedish food is often described as being quite heavy and it is true that there are many dishes with meat and potatoes. There are, however, a great many lighter dishes available — especially fish dishes – and the menus in good restaurants are usually excellent and varied.
Most business people do not drink alcohol with lunch but are much more likely to have an alcoholic drink with dinner (unless they are driving — the drink-driving laws are very stringently enforced.) Beer and wine would be the most common drinks taken with dinner. Drinking is often accompanied with the traditional Swedish toast of skåoal.
It is usually possible to discuss business issues over lunch or dinner — although it would be unusual to make any firm decisions or go into things in too much depth on these occasions.
It is not really necessary to tip in restaurants in egalitarian Sweden but many people will round up the bill to the nearest round figure. You do, however, very often have to pay to hang your coat in the cloakroom.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
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 Sweden. 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 Sweden 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: