Text II. Choosing The Wrong Meal Can Ruin A Big Deal
Revelations that Sir John Bourn, the UK auditor-general, enjoyed dinner on expenses worth £125 a head at Wiltons as well as gastronomic delights at the Ritz, Savoy and Dorchester did not sit comfortably with a man who preaches prudence.
It is a reminder that when it comes to business dining, the choice of restaurant should fit with the image of the organisation you represent. As Colin Lewis, head of sales and marketing at Aer Arann, the airline, says: "It's essential to choose a venue that represents what we stand for as an organisation."
var mpusky = new Advert(AD_MPUSKY);mpusky.init(); For something that might appear pretty straightforward, choosing a venue for a business lunch can be an etiquette minefield. The atmosphere needs to be appropriate; the price needs to be right; the location needs to be easy to reach - and that's before we move to food, service and your dining companion's dietary requirements. Get any of these wrong and your lunch, instead of being a convivial breaking of (wheat-free) bread, could leave a nasty taste.
"For business lunches," says Linda Zagat, co-founder of the New York-based Zagat Guides, "it's not about the most spectacular food. The key criterion is somewhere you can hear one another but not be overheard as your lunch may involve confidential discussions."
Elisabeth Marx, a partner at headhunters Heidrick & Struggles, chooses a restaurant with a discreet level of noise and a clear gap between the tables. She notes that the flashy dine-to-impress ethic of the 1980s and early 1990s is a thing of the past, and today's time-poor business people may want a restaurant where they can get in and out quickly - and where eating a single course is acceptable.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra Beer says: "The days of four-hour City lunches went with the Big Bang in 1986."
Robin Jay, the Las Vegas-based author of The Art of the Business Lunch , recommends choosing a restaurant that has a business-like approach. "You need a place where the staff don't interrupt you. For instance, I had a recent lunch where the waitress asked us if everything was OK every five minutes. She stacked the plates at the table and took forever to bring the cheque."
Ms Jay adds that you will need somewhere that takes reservations and is convenient for both parties. Moreover, they should take credit cards in order to avoid awkward questions over the bill.
Perhaps in keeping with his UK property development company's company's funky image, Urban Splash co-founder Tom Bloxham says he looks for "somewhere that has atmosphere, that's exciting and buzzing - preferably full of interesting people". He adds that familiarity can be important too. "It's good if they know you, so you can get a good table."
Ms Zagat agrees: "It should be a place that you know and knows you, so that you're treated with respect as the host."
On the subject of familiarity - if you're dining with someone you don't know, take them to a restaurant you do - the wilder shores of gastronomy are for pleasure, not business.
A related consideration is that your guest may have specific dietary requirements. Here you have some leeway. For instance, real allergies and religious beliefs are important and may rule out some restaurants. Fashionable diets can be treated with a little more circumspection.
Splashing the cash is not always advisable. Andy Gilchrist's decision to spend £800 at London's Cinnamon Club while his firefighters were out on strike doubtless has much to do with his no longer being the general secretary of the UK Fire Brigades Union. Such considerations are not just for the public sector - it's worth remembering that even in banking or advertising, spending a fortune can leave others with the impression that your company wastes money.
There are exceptions to all these rules. If you know your dining companion well, you may wish to go to a restaurant that charges a fortune, doesn't take reservations, serves chilli-laced pig's trotters and accepts only cash. But even on these occasions, you should be taking them there because they would enjoy it. As Ms Marx points out, perhaps the most important thing is to demonstrate that you are thinking of your guest, not yourself.
VI. Read text II attentively and fill in the gaps in the following sentences. Be sure you’ve used the right form of the word.
credit card clear gaps stack easy to reach fit
1. The image of a restaurant should ____________ to the occasion
2. Atmosphere, prices, service – all should be of premium class, as for destination – it is to be ____________
3. There should be __________ for people to pass through without any discomfort.
4. It is really annoying when a waiter constantly _________ the plates.
5. To avoid strange situations, they should accept ____________ .
VII. Read the following statements, which are based on text II contents and agree or disagree. Set your arguments.
a. The choice of restaurant shouldn’t fit with the image of the organisation you represent.
b. Choosing a venue for a business lunch can be a minefield.
c. The location needs to be difficult to reach.
d. You need a place where the staff doesn’t talk to you.
e. The most important thing is to demonstrate that you are thinking of your guest and yourself.
VIII. Match the words from the text with their definitions.
a. careful to avoid social embarrassment or distress, esp by keeping confidences secret; tactful
b. a large amount
c. reasonable knowledge or acquaintance, as with a subject or place
d. caution practised beforehand
e. caution in practical affairs; discretion or circumspection
f. sociable; jovial or festive
g. a steady brisk pace
h. unpleasant, offensive, or repugnant
i. the act or an instance of considering; deliberation; contemplation
j. the act or process of disclosing something previously secret or obscure, esp something true
In this interview, you will hear marketing specialist, Francine Jason, talking about marketing ethics. Listen and decide which of the following short summaries most accurately reflect her comments. Give reasons for your choice.
1. Decisions have to be taken in business about whether a course of action is morally right or wrong. Benetton's new-born baby advertisement was unethical marketing and therefore gave rise to a lot of controversy. Marketing ethics relate to specific problems which managers have to deal with.
2. In business, decisions which involve ethical considerations can be very controversial. Benetton's decision to use a picture of a new-born baby in an advertisement was hotly debated, but whether it was right or wrong is a matter of opinion. Companies should operate within an established code of ethics.
3. Organisations have to take decisions of an ethical nature. The Benetton advertisement used a new-born baby to promote the company's goods. Some people believed this was ethical while others did not. Because marketing ethics are so subjective, it is not possible for companies to have policies about them.
I. Speak out:
a) Read case study at first and then discuss in groups of three why Ms.Kingstone was refused a refund on her holiday?
b) Try to suggest any suitable decision of this problem to the customer.
Porchester Tour Company (PTC), a medium-sized tour operator based on the south coast of England, has been receiving a growing number of complaints. Customers are dissatisfied with the standard of PTC's package holidays; many claim the company makes misleading statements in its brochures.
Annabel Kingstone chose a two-week holiday in Greece. PTC's brochure promised:
peace and relaxation off the beaten track on a little known island of great beauty, charm and tranquility
traditional Greek hospitality in a comfortable family run hotel full of local atmosphere
frequent ferry services to the mainland
lovely sunset walks through olive groves
miles of empty golden sands
When Ms Kingstone arrived, however, she found a sprawling resort overflowing with tourists. The nearest beach to the hotel was a kilometre away and rocky, there was one olive grove on the other side of the island, no traditional Greek dishes were served at the hotel which was staffed entirely by non-Greeks, the whole island was full of fast-food outlets and noisy bars and had a holiday-camp atmosphere. Escaping to the mainland didn't prove quite so easy either — the 'frequent ferry services' ran only three times a week and were very crowded.
On her return to the UK, Ms Kingstone wrote a letter of complaint to PTC but was refused a refund on her holiday. She was so dissatisfied, she wrote to the local paper, the Porchester Gazette, suggesting it might like to 'expose PTC's disgraceful business practices'. The paper followed up her story.
Having interviewed Ms Kingstone, the Porchester Gazette requested an interview with PTC to get the company's side of the story. The request was granted and the interview was set up at PTC's offices.
II. Role-play: Interview
Work in groups of four as two pairs, one pair playing two senior managers from PTC, the other pair playing two reporters from the Porchester Gazette. Read your role-card and prepare for your interview carefully, using the language in the box to help you.
Standing your ground
Pushing your point
Well, as I said before...As I've already said...I see what you mean, but the point is...What I'm saying is...I think you've misinterpreted whatI said.You're missing the point. No, that's not what I said. It's (not) company policy to...You must realise that...
Let me come back to the point about...I'm not sure you've really answered my question. Are you saying that...? To return to Ms Kingstone...I'd just like to get this clear in my mind...
Let me put this another way...Surely, that means...Perhaps you can explain how...Would you say that...?
Senior managers — Porchester Tour Company
Defend your company's reputation strongly: you must convince the reporters that you run a reputable business providing an excellent service to your customers. You organise hundreds of holidays a year and it is difficult to check all the details in your brochures. You have to rely on information given to you by local businesses and by your local representatives. You amend incorrect information in brochures as soon as possible. It is your policy to refund money to customers only in exceptional circumstances. Try to have a pleasant meeting with the reporters, but don't let them 'push you around'.
Reporters — Porchester Gazette
You must expect PTC's senior management to present the company's activities in a good light. However, you feel that the firm is unethical in its marketing techniques. You have information about other holiday-makers who have had bad experiences with these package holidays (give examples). Ask penetrating questions — you need to get plenty of good material so you can write a lively and provocative article — but expect to hear a lot of excuses from PTC. Don't forget to note down any comments that might make suitable quotes in your story.
1. As Annabel Kingstone, write a letter of complaint to PTC.
2. As PTC's customer liaison officer, write a reply to Annabel Kingstone's letter of complaint.
3. As one of the reporters on the PTC/Annabel Kingstone story, write the article for the Porchester Gazette.