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When good dining means good business

Lakshmi Balachandra, an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneur at Babson College and a Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government recently published an online article called “Should You Eat While You Negotiate?”

She notes that across cultures, dining together is a common practice to reach negotiated agreements. She cites for example that in Russia and Japan, important commercial dealings are conducted almost exclusively while dining and drinking. In the U.S., most negotiations begin with “Let’s do lunch.”

The same business bonding tradition is also almost a standard in the Philippines – dining with prospective partners may help seal the deal.

In the article, Balachandra asks the question: “are business deals actually improved when people discuss important matters over a meal?”

Negotiating experiments

To find out the answer, she conducted two experiments wherein one negotiation took place over a meal in restaurants while another set is done in the boardrooms without any food to eat. She asked the participants to negotiate a complex joint venture agreement between two companies.

Much like in typical negotiations, in order to maximize their profits, the participants must share information and work together with the other side to learn where the most value can be created. She found out that the greatest possible profits were created by parties who were able to discern the other side’s preferences and then work collectively to discover the profit maximizing outcomes for the joint venture.

Eat to maximize profit

In her study, the participants who ate together while negotiating created significantly increased profits versus those who did without dining.

According to Balachandra, there may also be biological factors at work. Research has shown that the consumption of food enhances complex brain activities, bolstering self-control, and regulating prejudice and aggressive behaviors.

Other research has shown that unconscious mimicking behaviors of others may lead to increased pro-social behaviors. When individuals eat together, they enact the same movements. This unconscious mimicking of each other may induce mutually positive feelings towards the other party and the matter under discussion.

With these encouraging results, Lakshmi Balachandra suggests that the next time you discuss important matters, it may be wise to “do lunch” or probably dinner to earn the other party’s trust and maximize mutual benefits.

The new negotiating table

On top of dining while negotiating, experts suggest that the environment where business deals and negotiations take place may also affect the results of the meeting.

This is why The Plaza at Arya Residences, a sprawling canopied destination dining area is designed for pleasurable social and business gatherings. It is elevated four meters above the road and is nestled within carefully curated greens, so it is protected from the busy street and pedestrians.

Architecturally, it is oriented to receive natural breeze and away from harsh sunlight, and with the vegetation and water features, The Plaza will be cool and pleasant for guests.

Diners may be able to enjoy gustatory selections any time of the day, any season of the year. It is protected by a grand canopy that stands more than ten meters high.

Stretching along McKinley Parkway in Bonifacio Global City, The Plaza is accessible to most commercial destinations within BGC (also known as The Fort or Fort Bonifacio) and the Makati Central Business District.

The Plaza at Arya Residences, a sprawling canopied destination dining area is designed for pleasurable social and business gatherings. It is the flagship residential condominium project of world class boutique developer, ArthaLand.

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