If you have ever been to a business meeting or social event where everyone around you was enjoying a hearty meal of which you could barely partake because your dietary restrictions prohibited almost everything on the menu, then you know how bad it feels to be left out of the social aspect of eating. There are a few differences you should keep in mind while serving a diverse crowd of business colleagues so that everyone will feel welcome (and more likely to engage in business with you!):
- Practitioners of the Hindu religion, most of whom are from India, are often vegetarian. They do not typically eat meat or fish, though some make an exception for chicken. Some Buddhists are also vegetarian.
- Observant Muslims and Jews do not eat pork. Jews also have an injunction against eating sea creatures without fins or scales and will not eat meat and milk together in the same meal. Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol.
- Greek Orthodox people have several periods of fasting during the year when they cannot eat meat or dairy or drink wine.
- People with some physiological conditions must avoid certain foods. Lactose-intolerant people cannot drink milk that has not been digested with lactase and cannot eat many dairy foods. Celiac disease causes serious problems for patients who consume wheat, and sometimes all gluten products, so their carbohydrate intake is limited to select grains.
All of this may seem overwhelming, but it is possible to accommodate most needs. Ask your guests ahead of time about their dietary restrictions and preferences. Be sure to serve a variety of dishes, including some without meat or dairy. Make sure you stock non-alcoholic beverage choices.