What are the top cuisines to consider for your next business dinner?
You may have asked yourselves which cuisine to consider for a particular business dinner (or lunch). To give you some guidance we have looked to our listed restaurants and ranked the top cuisines globally and by region.
At FirstGuide we carefully select the best restaurants for business travel and business occasions by applying certain filters. The rating filter is the most important filter and we filter out restaurants with a rating score below four on a scale of one to five. Other filters are also worth mentioning, especially the fit for purpose filter that ensures our listed restaurants are suitable for business events. Here we consider that business travellers typically wear business dress and prefer an atmosphere suitable for a business discussion over lunch or dinner. So far, we have listed 1,000 out of 5,000 screened restaurants. In our 50 featured business travel destinations, those 1,000 restaurants represent the best restaurants for a business context.
Each of the listed restaurants at FirstGuide references one to three cuisines. You find combinations such as Modern French or Classic Italian or Mediterranean Asian Fusion. We have taken those cuisine references and had a look at the numbers. In this post we outline what the numbers tell us about cuisine preferences globally and by region. For more information on the methodology please refer to the last section of this post.
And the global winner is … French Cuisine!
We were not surprised to see the French cuisine coming out as the global winner. We were, however, surprised by the magnitude of the score and the distance to the second ranking Italian cuisine.
In our global score, French cuisine came out at 17 on a scale of zero to 100. This means that French cuisine represents 17% of the cuisine references of all listed restaurants. Italian cuisine came next with a strong double-digit score of 11. These results show French and Italian to be the top global cuisines.
Top Cuisines for Business Dinner Globally
Not surprisingly, Japanese and Chinese came out at number three and four. But there is a big gap from the top two to these, and they are closely followed by the next ranking cuisines.
These scores tell us that you can hardly make a mistake by choosing French or Italian cuisine. In other words, our recommendation is if you want to be on the safe side, to choose a French or an Italian restaurant for your business dinner or lunch wherever in the world you are.
We deliberately decided to leave descriptive cuisine references such as Modern, Contemporary, Creative, Traditional etc in the sample. Traditional did not make it into the top 20 list. Modern ranked 5th and Contemporary ranked 14th. This tells us that there is a tendency towards modern and contemporary restaurants for business occasions. Looking further down in the list, it is noteworthy that Vegetarian made it into the top 20.
The above is the global view and the global average may hide the picture of different preferences in different regions. According to the old saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, let us dive into the different regions as well.
Europe: French & Italian cuisine with a modern touch
In Europe, we see a clear preference for French and Italian cuisine with a modern touch. Those cuisines account for 40% of all references of the 400+ listed restaurants in Europe. The bottom line is you cannot go far wrong by choosing a French or Italian restaurant in Europe. If it has a modern touch, even better.
Top Cuisines in Europe
Apart from French and Italian, there were eight more European cuisines in the top 20. This is a clear sign that the local cuisine in a particular country, such as Austrian cuisine in Austria or Spanish cuisine in Spain, is also a good choice for a business occasion. American cuisine did not make it into the top 20 list for Europe.
North America: American cuisine first
American cuisine came out first in North America but with only a slight margin over French and Italian. An American restaurant is a good choice for the United States. Looking into the data on a country level, it is the same case in Canada and Mexico with Canadian and Mexican cuisine respectively. French and Italian are again good choices across North America. In total American, French and Italian cuisines represent more than 40% of all references of the 200+ listed restaurants in North America.
Top Cuisines for Business Dinner in North America
Interestingly, in North America, Contemporary ranks higher than Modern. This is just the opposite to Europe. It may be, to a certain degree, splitting hairs, but Contemporary bears a slightly different notion to Modern. We conclude from this that in North America the mainstream restaurant style for business occasions is more contemporary than modern. Vegetarian cuisine did not make it into the top 20 list for North America. This shows that there is still some way to go for Vegetarian restaurants in a business context in North America.
Asia: Chinese & French cuisine top of the list
Not surprisingly, Chinese cuisine came out on top of the list for Asia. The margin over the second ranked French cuisine was quite narrow though. It was surprising that Japanese cuisine did not come out higher than a distant third rank. A look at the individual Asian countries shows that Chinese cuisine is even more dominant in China. Japanese cuisine has an equally leading position in Japan. We also see a similar pattern in Thailand and India. Our recommendation, therefore, for business occasions in Asia is to choose either the local cuisine or French or Italian. The four cuisines – Chinese, Japanese, French and Italian – represent more than 50% of all references of the 250+ listed restaurants in Asia.
Top Cuisines for Business Dinner in Asia
Descriptive cuisine references such as Modern, Contemporary, Creative or Traditional play a minor role in Asia. Modern only ranked 14th. Vegetarian did not rank in the top 20. American cuisine does not play a major role in Asia, achieving a low rank of 18th.
South America: Italian cuisine on top
For South America, our number of listed restaurants is still low with around 30 restaurants, all in Brazil. These findings are more directional and therefore we only show the top 10 cuisines. The influence of the old continent is also still visible in South America as Italian cuisine ranks first. The 2nd rank for Brazilian cuisine results from the fact that all listed restaurants are in Brazil. This is a good indication that choosing a local restaurant in South America is also a good choice.
Top Cuisines for Business Dinner in South America
Africa: International cuisine preferred
Our number of listed restaurants in Africa is also still low with around 30 restaurants, all in South Africa. It is clear, however, from the cuisine references that International cuisine is the preferred option, followed by African.
Top Cuisines for Business Dinner in Africa
Australia: Modern Australian cuisine is the name of the game
In Australia, Modern Australian Cuisine is the name of the game. Japanese and Asian also rank ahead of French and Italian. It appears that Australia is the only region where French and Italian cuisine is not a safe bet when choosing a restaurant for a business dinner or lunch. It is better to choose Modern Australian Cuisine in Australia.
Top Cuisines for Business Dinner in Australia
Go local or global mainstream
After our round-up of the regions, we conclude that selecting the local cuisine or global mainstream cuisines French and Italian is the right direction in case of doubt. Across all regions and also on a country level, the respective local cuisines ranked highly if not first place. At the same time, French is among the top five cuisines and Italian among the top 10 in all regions.
Finally, we would also like to offer a word of caution. Rankings are a great way to get a fast orientation on a certain topic. The perfect cuisine for a successful business dinner, however, might not be high in the ranking. Your business partners may have different preferences not in line with the somewhat mainstream ranking. The rankings we present in this post may be a good starting point, but you need to select the cuisine that suits the occasion, each time.
Some words about methodology
The sample of listed restaurants included exactly 1,000 restaurants listed on FirstGuide. Each restaurant references one to three cuisines from a list of more than 50 cuisines. For the restaurants solely listed by FirstGuide, the cuisine references are a result of an automated analysis of the description text in the first step of making the listing. For restaurants that were added or edited by the restaurant itself, the cuisine references are chosen by the restaurant. In all cases, there is a final review of the cuisine references by FirstGuide editors.
In total, the 1,000 restaurants had around 1,500 cuisine references: on average, there are about 1.5 references per restaurant. To adjust for multiple cuisine references our analysis allows one point for each restaurant. If a restaurant has only one cuisine reference, we allocate the full point to the cuisine. In those cases where a restaurant has two cuisine references, we allocate half of a point to each cuisine. For restaurants with three cuisine references, we allocate one third of a point accordingly.
All allocated points are then summed up by cuisine. The sum per cuisine is then divided by the total and multiplied by 100 to calculate the scores we show in this post. The score can theoretically range from zero to 100. A zero score means that a cuisine is not referenced by any of the listed restaurants. A score of 100 represents the theoretical case where all restaurants would reference the same cuisine.