You may find that you are invited for a meal by a local Emirati contact who will entertain you lavishly at one of the most expensive hotels or restaurants in the region.
The food will be superb and the surroundings even better. You host may flatter you and tell you how much he enjoys doing business with you. Does this mean you are on track to land that big contract? Not necessarily. This lavish entertainment may be the precursor of great things to follow – but it may also be a polite way of letting you down gently!
If you invite a local contact for a meal, it is important that you also entertain lavishly. The amount of effort (and money) put into the entertainment aspect of relationship building reflects how highly you value your guests. Do not imagine that this investment is ill-advised or wasted – it is an absolutely essential part of that all-important relationship building process.
Do not eat or pass food with your left hand – which is considered to be the ‘dirty’ hand. (It might even be considered offensive to pass things with the left hand.)
A service charge of about 10% is usually added to a restaurant bill but it is not uncommon for people to add an extra 10% on top of this.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in United Arab Emirates only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.