How to Choose a Restaurant for Any Occasion

Family weekend, business dinner or a romantic date? We got you.

Ever had a first date or attended a business lunch that just didn’t work? No doubt, the choice of venue played a big part. Our guide will tell you how to pick the perfect location, whatever the occasion.

The Business Lunch

An effective business lunch is a bit like a first date, minus the romance. Again, planning and venue are top of the list.

Make sure that the venue has a range of options on the menu, so that your guest’s dietary needs are covered. If the meals can be served quickly and efficiently you will get bonus points. Giving your credit card details to the staff before the meal will help things run smoothly and avoid misunderstandings when it’s time to pay the bill.

Match the venue to the purpose. If a multi-million dollar deal is on the cards, a more exclusive venue is the obvious choice. Otherwise, a pleasant meal that you would be happy to order again is what you should be looking for.

Will you be in good company? Trying to be professional when surrounded by party-animals just won’t work, so consider the vibe of your planned venue and match it to your desired outcome.

Find a restaurant where you will be able to hear each other. The outcome of the lunch needs to be clear to both parties and loud music will just make things awkward.

When you have found the perfect place, double check that it has plenty of parking and is easy for your guest to get to. Lastly, make a reservation to save all parties from any unnecessary waiting around.

The Family Get-Together

The biggest consideration when planning a large family meal is the range of ages and needs you are likely to have to cover. You may have guests ranging from babies to the elderly and your choice has to please them all.

Will you be splitting the bill or is one person treating the rest? Either way, you don’t want the bill to break the bank. Even if you have plenty of cash, other family members may not so bear this in mind when you check out the menu. The cousin with 9 children will be glad you did.

Do any of your guests have mobility issues? If anyone uses a wheelchair or finds steps difficult, ask the restaurant if they can accommodate you. If they don’t seem confident that they can you may have to go elsewhere.

Likewise, family members with young children will appreciate an easy entrance and a bit of space to fit high-chairs, or to help young children sit comfortably at the table. A place they could go for a bit of a wander if sitting still gets too much would be a bonus for them and other diners.

Parents of young children will appreciate a venue that is welcoming to youngsters but also manages to provide a pleasant experience for adults. Parents of toddlers can still appreciate a well-cooked meal and decor that isn’t all primary colors.

There will no doubt be a wide range of likes and dislikes in so large a group. Make sure the menu has plenty of choices and ask about any dietary needs first. The restaurant may be happy to provide a vegan or gluten free meal, for example, but checking in advance will keep everyone happy.

The First Date

To make your first date a success, a little pre-planning will go a long way.

When choosing a restaurant make sure that both of you can easily get there. Neither of you will be at your best following a nightmare journey, so go for somewhere in the middle. For those using public transport, city locations will be the easiest to reach.

Find out what your date likes to eat. A vegetarian probably won’t appreciate a meal at the local steak place, so make sure the menu offers plenty of choice for all dietary requirements.

You may have a great place that you visit regularly, but a first date here may not be the best idea. Things could get awkward if some well-meaning banter from someone you know strikes the wrong chord.

You can be sure that neither of you wants any unpleasant surprises on your first date, so it is worth checking out the venue in person before the big day. Then you’ll know it is easy to find and isn’t a health hazard.

While you are there, pay attention to the background music and atmosphere. You will hopefully be chatting away and getting to know each other – music that is too loud is a no. You will also need to feel comfortable there. If you could hear a pin drop, the chances for relaxed conversation are near zero.

Finally, book a table. Then all you have to do is pick the perfect outfit and be excellent company.

The Proposal

The first date went well, love grew, and now you find yourself planning a proposal. This will test both your planning skills, and your nerves, so what do you need to consider?

This could be the time to take it up a notch. This day will be one to remember so you might choose a really romantic restaurant. You can even book a proposal package for extra special memories.

Maybe there is somewhere that is not traditionally ‘romantic’ but has a special meaning to both of you. This may be a better choice – you know your loved one best so don’t be afraid to go against the grain. After all, this is about you and your partner and no one else.

Tell the restaurant what you are planning. They can give you a good table and can help keep secrets. They may even have suggestions, as they will have helped with proposals before.
Most people will advise you to wait until the end of the meal to pop the question. The logic is that you will at least have enjoyed a nice meal if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for. However, if you are so nervous that you spend the evening acting strangely, asking at the beginning of the meal might be better.

Ali Emerson

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