Hispanohablantes enjoy meals as a social activity and do not necessarily expect to discuss business at the table. If your intention is to use a meal or drinks invitation as an opportunity to talk about business matters, it won’t be seen in a positive way. As a general rule, avoid any discussion of financial matters over dinner and concentrate on establishing the personal relationship, which will help in later discussions.

Lunch is usually the best time for a ‘business’ meal, between 1pm and 2pm and never before 8am for breakfast which is not a normal practice for business talks. But you must avoid talking about business until you have finished your meal and you should wait until your client start the business conversation which is mainly during the coffee time.

At meal times and also in meetings you may find that several people are speaking at once and interruptions are common. This is a cultural matter which indicates genuine interest in the discussion.

Colleagues regularly eat lunch together in the staff canteen or in a local restaurant, or in a tapas bar in Spain. As these are hierarchy cultures, different ranks do not sit together and the boss usually makes a point of eating off the premises, with peers of the same rank.

While tastes and dishes vary throughout these large Hispanic regions, there are some common characteristics of ingredients in their national dishes: Olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, chili, rice and potatoes.

Enjoy your meal!

Martha Jesty

Spanish Translator, Interpreter & Teacher of Spanish-English,

Specialist in Spanish, Latin American and British business cultures