Business entertaining forms an integral part of business life in Brazil and business meals can be lengthy affairs.
Do not be surprised to spend two hours over lunch and three hours or more over dinner. If you are entertaining business guests, make sure that you do it in style — do not be tempted to cut corners.
Business meals are really about getting to know each other as people so don’t be tempted to try to use the meal as an extension of a meeting. Keep the conversation at the social level and if business is to be discussed, wait until the coffee is served.
Brazilians tend to use their knife to cut up the food and then place it against the plate whilst continuing to eat using only the fork. All food is eaten with a fork — don’t use your fingers as this is considered bad form.
Although most social events will start much later than the official start time, it is good idea to arrive at any business functions on time — you may find that you are the first person there, but then again, you may not.
Most restaurants will automatically add a 10% service charge on to the bill, but it is still a good idea to leave a further tip of between 5 — 10%.