So, you’re a picky eater?
Hold on, picky is a strong word. For the purpose of this article, let’s refer to the your ‘condition’ as having a particularly selective palate. Regardless of how you refer to it, one thing’s for certain; the more diverse your tastebuds, the easier your life will be in the world of client service.
It’s safe to say that my comfort zone in regards to food has always been rather limited. As a child predominately raised on the carb-rich diet of mac and cheese, pizza, and TV dinners (do they still call them that?), I’ve grown accustom to awkward food situations my whole life. Hell, up until a few years ago I didn’t know the difference between green beans and asparagus. Despite all of this, I found that getting by was fairly easy, up until I entered the advertising industry.
Initially, I had no idea how much of a hinderance a selective palate could possibly be. Client lunches and dinners, team-building outings, luncheons and conferences, the list goes on and on. My initial tactic was to do what I was familiar with – refuse everything foreign to me. This was fine at first, though I began limiting myself on what types of events or outings I’d even be interested in attending based solely on the venue or menu options.
After realizing this was a flawed approach, I tried going the other route. When a cuisine was outside of my comfort zone, still I gave it a try, despite knowing in some cases how much it wouldn’t agree with me. This was also not ideal, leading to the occasional sickness or just a miserable experience at the bare minimum.
Finding the right balance here is key. For someone who’s been dealing with a limited palate my whole life, (and working in the industry for several years now) I feel like I’ve come up with three easy rules to keep your best interests in mind.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Try Everything at Least Once (in the right setting)
Pay attention to the parentheses. If you know something may not agree with you right off the bat, avoid trying it at formal outings.
- If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Eat It
This is self-explanatory. If you know it’s going to make your stomach churn, stand your ground and don’t eat it. It’s okay to refuse, just make sure to do so politely, especially if you’re not the one picking up the tab.
- Know Your Safe Food
Look at the menu ahead of time and find an entree that works for you. This way, if you want to try a few new things, you can still have a decent meal and avoid making a fast-food trip on the way home.
These aren’t the only rules to live by, as there’s always exceptions or special circumstances. That being said, if you have a particularly selective palate, use this list or set your own ground rules in advance to better enjoy your professional dining experiences.