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Business Dinners and Meals

Business lunches and dinners are quite common. Business breakfasts are extremely uncommon. Having a glass or two of beer or wine at a business lunch is not frowned upon. However, it is recommended for business lunches that you wait to see if your host orders a drink first. A business lunch will generally begin around noon and will last from one to two hours. Business lunches will certainly have a social element involved.

Business diners will begin around 7 or 8 pm and can last long into the night. You can expect a great deal of alcohol to be served at a business dinner especially when there is a large group of people. It is not necessary to wait to see if your host orders an alcholic drink before you do. Danish business diners have a social first, business second attitude. Danes truly value their social time and business diners are often a chance to develop a personal bond with a normally reserved Dane. A Danish host will expect their guests to have a drink with them. If a visitor does not drink for whatever reason they should explain why so as not to appear unwilling to socialize or too driven to 'make the sale' or 'make the deal'. Danes have a disdain for people who are so focused on the sale that they disregard social interaction. For a visitor who does choose to have a drink be advised that drinking and driving is extremely unacceptable in Danish society.

It is rare, but a business dinner could take place at your business associate's home. Danes are very proud of their homes, and they should be thanked for the invitation. Being invited to a Danish associates home is a great sign of trust. A gift should be given. A bottle of wine and/or flowers is advisable.

Regardless of where the your meeting will occur it is not uncommon for your host to decide on the seating arrangements. Also, you should inform your host before hand if there are any foods you do not eat because of allergy, religion, taste etc.

While eating Danes hold their fork and knife at all times, and very rarely use their hands to eat anything. It is acceptable to eat poultry with your hands. However, Danes rarely do this because they are so adept at using a fork and knife. The best advice is to wait and see how your Danish host eats the items on their plate. You will sometimes be surprised to see what items people eat with their utensils. This is a country where people eat sandwiches with utensils!

Toasting is very common at a Danish meal. Toasts usually do not involve a speech, if anything is said it will be usually be short and to the point. Generally a toast will simply involve someone from to table saying the Danish word for cheers, "skål" (pronounced "skoal"). At which point everyone will raise their glasses, look around the table (attempting to make eye contact with everyone present), and then taking a drink from their glass. While looking around the table people will often nod, and quietly say the word "skål".

When the bill comes a visitor who has been invited out to lunch or dinner should not offer to pay the bill. The invitation already established that they were offering you a meal. If a foreign business traveller is the one who invited some Danish business people out for dinner, the foreign business traveller should also pay for the meal. Offering to pay for the tip or to buy a a drink at another location is considered polite and is usually appreciated. Tipping is not a normal part of the restaurant experience in Denmark. For that matter tipping is not a normal part of any service transaction within Denmark. Danes who work in the service industry (restaurant workers) are well paid, however tips are always appreciated. 5 % is adequate.

LastUpdate: 2015-04-09 15:44:42