If breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings with coworkers or business associates are common practice in your line of work, there will be a variety of scenarios where you’ll feel like you’re on the spot, rushed, out of your comfort zone, and under the magnifying glass. But again, situations can be best navigated when you have an idea of what to expect and are prepared in advance. Group engagements can often be more uncomfortable than one-on-one meetings.
You’re in an unfamiliar restaurant, it takes you a while to read the menu for gluten-free options, your coworkers are ready to order and get on with the meeting, but you’re still trying to make a decision and asking the server questions about the menu. If you haven’t let people know about your gluten intolerance before now, their patience level may not be what it would otherwise be.
Tip: Right after or before everyone sits down, excuse yourself to visit the restroom and conveniently ask the hostess for a menu to take a look at it and get a jump start. Ask if they can recommend gluten-free options. By the time you return to the table, you may have an idea of what you’re going to order.
When you have a meeting at a restaurant scheduled in advance, you have time to call ahead to ask about the menu. Get an idea of what you can order and what to avoid. By the time the engagement rolls around, you can order efficiently and those who accompany you will never know the difference.
Tip: If your research concludes there will be virtually nothing you can eat at the selected venue, prepare to eat light that day or make a recommendation to switch restaurants.
Know the restaurants in your business district well and have a list of those you can eat at, as well as those that are not favorable to your diet. When you have to schedule a meeting, you can make recommendations or if someone else is taking the lead, you can guide the situation in your favor.
Tip: Gather copies of gluten-free menus from nearby restaurants that you like and keep them on file in your office for easy reference when the need to suggest a restaurant arises.