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June 8, 2015

Eating in the US with American Colleagues

"We liked the role play about eating lunch with US colleagues. We learned about etiquettes and conversational topics. It was useful and fun." ~ Training Participant in the US Cultural Training Program, India  

The most popular part of any training program is undoubtably the mocks, demos or role plays. If given a chance to choose topics, most groups want to do the "lunch time meeting role play."  

This role play gives groups experience practicing: 
  • meal-time and restaurant etiquette 
  • acceptable and unacceptable small talk topics 
  • American menus 
  • general cross-cultural communication and mannerisms 

We build up to this in each day long session through learning theory and discussions on the above topics, culminating in role plays in the afternoon.  After completing the role plays, the most frequently asked question and answer is: 

Participant's Question: How do I learn more about American menus? They are so complicated!
Jennifer's Answer: Though we have read and discussed a few different ones today, I suggest you to ask your US colleagues which are their favorite restaurants the next time you engage in small talk with them or before planning your next visit. Write down the names of these restaurants and look them up on Google. Now a days most of the restaurants have a website and post their menus. Read through the menus ahead of time, if this gives you confidence. However, if you don't get a chance to do that, never forget we can use our curiosity to ask questions or to have conversations with the colleagues while waiting to order on the day we are in the restaurant with our colleagues. 

Participants Question: Can I eat with my hands in the US? 
Answer: Read this post - Eating with our hands in the US - yay or nay?

If you are planning to go to the US to visit your colleagues, look up on Google maps the location of the office or the hotel and see what restaurants or diners are nearby. Take a look at two examples of typical American diner menus:
Santangelo's Restaurant
Restaurant logo
American Diner
Restaurant logo

To learn more about the topics we cover, browse these links:  
Importance of asking questions  

Jennifer Kumar, blog owner, is the founder and coach at Authentic Journeys. Learn more about the US culture training at this link.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.