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.
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 Sweden 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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