South Africa: Prosperous Entertaining


Business Meals

In South Africa a business meal can take place at any time of the day. Breakfast is very popular for business meetings and this usually takes place between 07h00 and 08h00, before the working day starts. The normal “lunch hour” within business is considered to be between 13h00 and 14h00, but the business lunch usually takes place from between 12:30 and 13h00.

Alcohol consumption in moderation is considered acceptable in South Africa, but the guests should always wait for alcohol to be ordered by the host/ hostess first. Drinks after work are also very popular with business people along with having socially acceptable eating and drinking habits. Business dinners are more formal than the breakfast and lunches and tend to be longer. These take place after working hours, and can either be at restaurants or at the host’s home. Cell phones and pagers should be turned off.

It is not uncommon for Africans and Muslims to eat with their hands as it is their culture, but this is rare in a business environment. Muslims only eat Halaal food and do not consume alcohol.



In SA a 10-15% service fee is standard practice and expected, although it also depends on the service received. If a waiter went out of his or her way to make you feel special, and gave excellent service, it is up to you to tip more. Some people also tip in order to ensure continued good service.

Bellhops should be tipped for each bag they carry. You can ask the hotel receptionist/concierge what the going rate is but in SA it is currently in the region of R5- per bag. You can also tip the maid/housekeeper. It is not necessary to tip the doorman or desk clerk, unless they did something out of the ordinary that you really appreciated.
Delivery people should also be tipped. You should tip shuttle drivers at the airport if they helped you with your bags. Tour guides should also be tipped. Although a fading practice, it is still appropriate to tip petrol station attendants as well. Also tip someone if they looked after your car when you park in a public place or shopping mall.
You do not have to tip restaurant and salon owners, but do tip the service providers including the people who wash your hair in a salon.