One of the long standing traditions of the corporate world are business dinners. These dinners celebrate milestones, conclude fiscal years, or introduce new management. These dinners are a mix of professionalism and entertainment, and it allows different corporate levels and divisions to mingle. A successful business dinner is not just to entertain guests but to also commemorates the achievements of the company and recognizes successful employees.

For a successful business dinner, planning can begin 12 months before the event is supposed to be held. And one of the first questions to ask as the planner is “what should be the atmosphere?” Business dinners can be relaxed or formal. However, if the company is struggling to keep its head above fiscal waters, it should refrain from hosting expensive dinners, as it may be construed as wasteful spending.

An appropriate place to have a business dinner would be a posh, roomy venue. It is important that the room has plenty of space for guest to be able to walk by the tables freely. Just make sure that the location is booked in advance and a contingency date is selected.

For contacting dinner attendees, formal dinners will require elegant letters and for less posh parties, an email or a little more than a well-written office will do. It does not matter what sort of method is used, as long as the invitation is sent 2-3 months before the advent, with the last reminder a week beforehand.  Solicitations must include times, dates, basic agenda and a marketing ploy to attract the wavering.

Formal dinners will require four- or five- star courses and casual festivities are fine with three-star fare. This decision leads to the quandary of having either a self-service buffet or maître d’ service. Though buffets lack sophistication, they promote hospitality and community. Maître d’ service is all about French hospitality and elegance, however it leaves the palate wanting. It is important to decide which set of attributes is the most important.

When selecting entertainment for a business dinner, forgo any local bands, DJs, puppeteers, rank-and-file comedians and such. There should be professional engaging keynote speakers and classy musicians, and they must be chosen carefully.

RSVP’s are essential. When dinner guests arrive, they should be asked to sign a master RVSP roster before they are taken to their seats by ushers. Another thing, give VIPs subliminal preferential treatment.