If you’re trying to win a contract, impress a client, or say thanks to a team member, you want to take them out for a dinner that makes an impression.
Taking them to an expensive restaurant in town is the obvious option – but expensive doesn’t necessarily mean memorable. You want your guest to remember the meal, and if they’re always getting taken out to high-end restaurants, you need to find a new way to stand out.
If you’re hosting someone who’s visiting your home town, you could take them somewhere that nails the local culture and cuisine. If it’s a first meeting, a restaurant with a good backstory can help break the ice. Or there are those places that, through their setting, their theme, their entertainment, or some other off-menu X factor, create a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The restaurants below break up the standard dining format in a way that will have your client talking about your dinner (and hopefully your business) all the way back to the office.
For a dining experience that leans more toward comfort-food sensibilities without going full fish-and-chips, Duck and Waffle will serve you the kind of tasty, inventive, sweet-and-savoury dishes that sound good whether you’re hungry or not. It’s 40 floors up and open 24 hours so you can look out over the Thames as you tuck into a business brunch, business dinner, or business 3 AM snack.
Some dining experiences can be gimmicky, and the quality of the food becomes incidental, but this restaurant’s angle goes the other direction. A sensory dining experience that also educates you around blindness and deafness, Dans Le Noir is sure to create a lasting impression on your guests. Visually impaired waiters serve a meat, fish, or veg-based surprise menu in total darkness, allowing your other senses to take over as your sight fades to black. You might be surprised how hard it is to identify what you’re eating by taste, smell, and texture alone. It makes for better conversation, too, but you’ll have to wait to sign that contract until you’re back out on the street.
Edinburgh New Town
The incredible menu isn’t the only reason it’s so tough to get a reservation here. Chef Sean Clarke only serves ten guests per night, all at a single table—hence the restaurant’s name. The ‘table’ is actually more of a bar, and it’s positioned right over the food-prep area, so you get the chance to interact with the chef (who’s also the host, server, and dishwasher) while you eat whatever he’s imagined for you.
Cardiff, Wales (with other locations in Brixton, High Down, Styal, Manchester)
Enter HMP Cardiff and you’ll be escorted to the best meal you can get in the city. Inmates prepare and serve locally sourced dishes like herb-crusted hake, gnocchi, wild mushroom, and tarragon consommé as they work toward professional food-service accreditations they can use when they re-enter society, thus lowering the rate of recidivism. The food is delicious, and it supports a great cause.
Sure, you want to treat your clients to an experience they’ll remember, but you also want to take them somewhere reliable and sure-to-be delicious. In that case, El Gato Negro is a great choice. Sit near the chef’s table for a unique open kitchen dining experience, or grab a spot on the stunning terrace which boasts a retractable roof and incredible views of the Manchester skyline. Of course, you also came for the food, and this tapas restaurant offers an award-winning menu of seasonally-influenced dishes based on quality Spanish and locally-sourced ingredients. Consider your business colleagues already impressed.
Building strong relationships with your client sets you up for healthy business growth - especially when you're travelling for business or if your clients (or suppliers) come to you.
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