The Role of Local Cuisine in Business Negotiations

Written by Reace

February 13, 2024

Local Cuisine In Business Negotiations

Local cuisine is the food that is typical or characteristic of a particular region or culture. It can be used in business negotiations to show respect, interest, and appreciation for the other party’s background and preferences. It can also be used to create a positive and relaxed atmosphere, to build rapport and trust, and to influence or reward the other party’s behaviour and decisions.

As a business travel agency, we understand that sharing a meal is the best way to experience the local cuisine and to build rapport with the other party.

Food has always been an effective means of bringing people together. It has the potential to break down barriers, foster relationships, and foster a sense of community. The role of local cuisine in business negotiations can have a significant impact on the outcome of a deal.

How Local Cuisine Can Influence Negotiations

There are several ways in which local cuisine can influence business negotiations:

  • Sharing a meal with someone can help to create a positive atmosphere and build rapport. This can make the negotiations more likely to be successful.
  • It can demonstrate respect for the other party’s culture. Taking the time to learn about and appreciate the other party’s culture can show that you are respectful of their values and customs and go a long way in building trust and establishing a good relationship.
  • Food can be a powerful icebreaker, especially in cultures where meals are an important part of social interaction. Sharing a meal with someone can help to break down barriers and create a more relaxed and informal setting.
  • It can show that you are willing to go the extra mile. Going out of your way to try new foods and experiences can show the other party that you are willing to invest in the relationship. This can make them more likely to be open to your proposals.


How to Use Local Cuisine to Your Advantage

Local cuisine can play a significant role in business negotiations, as it can reflect the culture, values, and preferences of the parties involved. Here are some ways that one can use local cuisine to the benefit of your company in business negotiations:


Research the Local Cuisine & Etiquette Before the Negotiations

Knowing the typical dishes, ingredients, and customs of the local cuisine can help you avoid any faux pas or misunderstandings that could offend or alienate your counterparts.

For example, in some cultures, refusing to eat certain foods or leaving food on your plate could be seen as rude or wasteful¹. Conversely, showing appreciation and curiosity for the local cuisine could demonstrate respect and interest in the other party’s culture and values.


Choose an Appropriate Venue & Menu for the Negotiations

Depending on the context and the goal of the negotiation, you may want to select a venue and a menu that suits the tone and the agenda of the meeting.

For example, if you want to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, you may opt for a casual and informal restaurant that serves local specialties. If you want to impress and persuade your counterparts, you may choose a more upscale and formal restaurant that offers a variety of dishes and cuisines.

You may also want to consider the dietary preferences and restrictions of your counterparts and accommodate them as much as possible.


Use Local Cuisine as a Conversation Starter & Rapport Builder

Local cuisine can be a great topic to break the ice and establish rapport with your counterparts, especially if you are meeting them for the first time or have limited common ground.

You can ask them about their favourite dishes, restaurants, or recipes, and share your own experiences and opinions. You can also compliment them on their choice of venue or menu and express your gratitude for their hospitality. By engaging in a friendly and genuine conversation about local cuisine, you can show your personality, warmth, and sincerity, and build trust and rapport with your counterparts.

The Role Of Local Cuisine In Business Negotiations

Use Food as a Strategic Tool for Bargaining

Local cuisine can also be used as a strategic tool to influence the behaviour and the decisions of your counterparts. For example, you can offer to treat them to a local delicacy or a specialty drink if they agree to a certain concession or a proposal.

You can also use local cuisine as a reward or a celebration after reaching an agreement or a milestone. By associating local cuisine with positive outcomes and emotions, you can create a sense of reciprocity, goodwill, and satisfaction among your counterparts, and enhance the quality and the durability of the deal..

Don’t be afraid to try new foods. This will show the other party that you are open to new experiences and that you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone.


Some examples of local cuisine that can be used in business negotiations are:

Sushi is a Japanese dish that is a delicate and sophisticated cuisine that can be used to demonstrate respect and elegance, as well as to show attention to detail and quality.

– Paella, a Spanish dish that consists of rice, meat, seafood, and vegetables, is a festive and colourful cuisine that can be used to create a warm and friendly atmosphere, as well as to show generosity and hospitality.

Baklava is a Turkish dessert that consists of layers of filo pastry, nuts, and honey or syrup, and is a sweet and rich treat that can be used to reward and celebrate the other party, as well as to show gratitude and appreciation.


Other things to keep in mind:

  • Always be polite and courteous to the other party and to the restaurant staff if you dine in a restaurant.
  • Avoid talking about business during the meal. This is a time to relax and enjoy the company of the other party.
  • Don’t overeat. It is not only in poor taste, but you don’t want to be too uncomfortable to negotiate effectively.
  • Be gracious and thank the other party for the meal and for their hospitality.
  • Be respectful of the other party’s preferences. If the other party has any dietary restrictions, make sure to choose a restaurant that can accommodate them.

You should also be respectful of their religious beliefs and avoid any foods that are considered taboo in their culture.

Aldrin Rachman Pradana B 1Gywcsc1S Unsplash Scaled
Louis Hansel Pheaeqe555M Unsplash Scaled
Free Travel Assesment Banner


Recommended for you