Business Dinners in India
Author Achim Rodewald detailed in the book "Business Know-How India" (Redline Wirtschaft-Verlang, 2007) how a foreign businessperson should behave with regards to invitations and business meals:
» An Indian businessperson will invite his or her foreign guest to their home at least once during the guest's stay in India.
» As a general rule, this invitation can be accepted without hesitation, especially if you are interested in establishing good business relations with your Indian partners.
» If the host is Hindu, you will usually need to take off your shoes at the front door of the home.
» When visiting temples, you will also have to take off your shoes before entering the temple.
» As a foreign guest in the house of an Indian host, one should always be aware that family and home are the most important and valuable possessions an Indian can have, regardless of how rich or poor the host actually is.
» If an Indian business person invites his or her foreign guest to a restaurant, his or her spouse will likely not join the meal.
» During the meal, foreign visitors should not be surprised if their Indian hosts eat with their hands instead of with a fork.
» You may chat for a while with your Indian host(s) before eating, but after the meal is over, the evening ends relatively quickly. This is also the case for evening cocktail parties or receptions -- they usually end quite abruptly once the meal is finished..
» You should not part with your Indian host before thanking him or her for the invitation and for the food. Letting your host know that you enjoyed the evening together may help in the consolidation of the business relationship.