Who pays for lunch?

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,507
I'm meeting with a couple of guys today to discuss me taking on some contract work (side job) in support of a project that the company they work for is engaged in. I know These guys; worked with both of them in previous jobs. They suggested we meet for lunch to discuss the particulars. I wasn't able to discern if that was an invitation to a free lunch or not, so I'm wondering what typical business etiquette dictates who the payer is in this scenario.


P.s. These guys have tried to hire me (full time) a couple of times over the past few years. Last time they met me to discuss the offer and payed for my lunch.

Thanks.
 

killivolt

Joined Jan 10, 2010
796
You don't want to be obligated or feel Obligated if you don't want the work, you have no idea of the pay or what your cut is, if their still with a company their extending themselves to you but, you want to keep the cards in your hand not theirs. So, when your ordering tell the waitress this is separate checks today, if they say they want to cover it, look surprised and Thank them, hopefully their not getting a cut in the deal, if they are? well then you need to feel your way through to find out if their just being friendly or they will depend on you to get the job done. Once you know their true intentions, sharpen your pencils boys lets get down to business.

Business is Business and it's my business to make what I can when I can without shoring myself or anyone else. Plus, who am I working for makes a big difference, family, friends or people in general.

kv
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,507
Well this thread was all for naught. The waitress brought the check to the guy sitting next to me and I never even realized she had brought it until she brought his card back to sign.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Well this thread was all for naught. The waitress brought the check to the guy sitting next to me and I never even realized she had brought it until she brought his card back to sign.
I wouldn't say it was for naught. I would say planning is well worth the effort, that is why it is called planning and why people who plan are rarely caught off guard.

Unsuccessful people don't plan to fail, but often, they just fail to plan.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
Although too late to apply to this case, I second the approach of going into it assuming you are paying for yourself. If nothing has been said, ask for a separate check when you order. If they are planning to pay, they will speak up. Yes, it's possible that they might have been planning to pay and take your move as a way to avoid doing so, but if that's the case then this might be a hint of the kind of people you are going to work for (though, in this case, you have some history with them). If they let you ask for a separate check, that might still not indicate that they don't intend to pay. They can always reach for your check and say, "We've got this." To which you say, "Well, thank you very much. That's quite gracious." If they don't, then pay for yours and give zero indication what you think about it. YOU are free to let it influence YOUR decision making in whether you want to work for/with them, but you don't want to give THEM reason to use your reaction negatively. After all, wouldn't it be a shame to miss out of a good business opportunity because you gave someone the impression that you were entitled to a free lunch? While it is certainly possible that they might interpret your willingness to pay for your own meal as an indication that they can put other expenses on you down the road, the more likely impression will be that you are treating this as a potential arrangement between equal (or nearly equal) parties.
 

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
You don't want to be obligated or feel Obligated if you don't want the work, you have no idea of the pay or what your cut is, if their still with a company their extending themselves to you but, you want to keep the cards in your hand not theirs. So, when your ordering tell the waitress this is separate checks today, if they say they want to cover it, look surprised and Thank them, hopefully their not getting a cut in the deal, if they are? well then you need to feel your way through to find out if their just being friendly or they will depend on you to get the job done. Once you know their true intentions, sharpen your pencils boys lets get down to business.

Business is Business and it's my business to make what I can when I can without shoring myself or anyone else. Plus, who am I working for makes a big difference, family, friends or people in general.

kv

The one thing I have used in dinner interviews was to insist I pay then make it clear I am well enough off to not have to work for them or anyone else which implies that when I work for whomever it is it's not because I need the money. It doesn't have to be totally true but in their views you just made it clear you will not be manipulated at work by any means because you don't have to be there if you don't want to.

I didn't do that for my oil field job two years ago but I did make it clear from day one I didn't have to work there if I didn't want too. Really screws up a bosses threat leveraging tactics. Even more so when you're still one of the most outgoing friendly dependable and reliable guys on the crew on top of it. Speculation about me at the place was nuts and always centered around me being some eccentric conservative prairie millionaire or such which given I did admit I own millions of shares of stock and acres oil rights (both barely worth the paper they were printed on at the time) helped. :p
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,290
Now that I think of it. Down here it's the people with the most resources (read: money) that normally pays the check, regardless of their being buyers or suppliers.
 

SLK001

Joined Nov 29, 2011
1,548
I always hated this kind of interview. You go to a nice restaurant, you order something you really want, then don't have time to eat it because of the tag-team interview process - you're always talking, while they get the time to take a bite.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,507
Surrrre you didn't notice. Riiiight. :)

Good planning! :)
LOL honestly, I was engaged in conversation with the guy across the table from me and never saw the waitress come to guy in peripheral with the check.

But since it worked so well, I have a new trick up my sleeve.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,507
I always hated this kind of interview. You go to a nice restaurant, you order something you really want, then don't have time to eat it because of the tag-team interview process - you're always talking, while they get the time to take a bite.
It wasn't really like that. Or maybe it was, I'm a bit oblivious to social nuances. It was 2 guys I've known for years and they know what I'm capable of, and one guy I've never met, who is their new technical guru. The new guy did probe me a bit about my previous experience and I also probed back. More of a "whose (name of ancient word processor removed by moderator) is bigger " back and forth a bit. But the other two were quick to chime in and vouch for me.
 
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