As in all relationship-driven cultures, business entertaining is an important part of the whole commercial process.
Take every opportunity to eat with your Indian colleagues and clients.
Business entertaining would rarely occur at a breakfast meeting as the working day starts in a more leisurely way than with a high-powered business meeting – and people often have a long commute in difficult conditions. Therefore, you are more likely to be invited out for lunch or dinner.
Food in India is invariably spicy and if you don’t like spicy food, you have to look quite hard for milder alternatives (often an omelette.) Food is usually offered as vegetarian or non-vegetarian options with the vegetarian dishes being in greater supply. It is perfectly acceptable to choose a non-vegetarian dish even if your host chooses vegetarian.
Remember that Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims don’t eat pork (or drink alcohol).
Eating in India can seem an informal affair where the use of the hands for eating is perfectly permissible – often even in the most expensive of restaurants. (If you find this difficult, eating implements will almost always be available.) It is always more polite to eat with the right hand than the left hand. People tend to start to eat as soon as their meal arrives rather than waiting for everybody to be served.
It is usual to leave a tip of around 10% when settling the bill.
This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture.
Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.
This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in India only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.
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