Indonesia: Prosperous Entertaining – Part 2


Entertaining for business success

Some Indonesian foods unfamiliar to many Westerners include shrimp that is served and eaten with the legs still attached, fish-head soup, and meats such as goat and buffalo.

Always leave a portion of your meal on your plate to signal that you’ve been satisfied with the meal.

When you have finished your meal, place your fork with the tines down on your plate and cross the spoon over it.

In most of Indonesia’s better restaurants, a 10% gratuity charge is added. Whenever you are in doubt if this charge has been added to the bill, it is okay to ask. If it hasn’t been included, leave a 10% tip. In traditional restaurants tipping is not practiced.

When bellboys and doormen have been of assistance to you, it is in order to tip them approximately Rp 5,000. When you are assisted with your luggage, you should give Rp 1,000 – 2,000 per bag to the porter.

Home invitations are rare because of cramped housing, often inhabited by several extended family members. If you are invited to an Indonesian home, you should consider it a rare honor, but might want to suggest that you meet in a more neutral social situation such as a restaurant.

If invited to a home, you are expected to arrive 10 to 20 minutes late. Upon arrival, discreetly check to see if your host or hostess is wearing shoes. If not, be sure to remove your own shoes.

It is appropriate to bring a gift with you. While any small token gift will be appreciated, such as candy or something representative of your country, avoid giving alcohol if your hosts are Muslim.

Wait for the host to invite you to begin eating or drinking.

Most Indonesians go to bed relatively early, and guests typically leave between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. or directly after the meal or any speeches are finished.

In your business dealings, be sure to become familiar with the most senior person. If you are hosting a dinner, this individual should be considered the guest of honor and treated with special attention.

Women should be sure to include spouses when extending any invitations for social functions to Indonesian businessmen.

Planning a dinner party or similar social event in Indonesia can be extremely complicated, as outlined in the following points:

First, ensure that you send written invitations, addressed to the husband and wife, at least two weeks in advance. Be aware that even if your invitations state ‘RSVP’, you may not receive many responses. Consequently, you should phone your guests to confirm if they will be attending your gathering. Be prepared to state the reason for the party and reveal the entire guest list, including the guest of honor.

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