Prepare to Qualify: Central Texas businesses are brushing up on their international etiquette just in time for this fall's United States Grand Prix.
Austin Terrier is a casual Northwest Austin eatery with a menu to please almost any palette, but restaurant owner James Durnil knows his staff will have to step up the formality a bit for Formula One.
"If we need to have someone that you address as sir or ma'am, we will do that, but we don't want to lose that feel of Austin and the casual environment that the city is known for," Durnil said.
Sharon Schweitzer built her business, Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide, teaching U.S. companies proper etiquette. She said many businesses are facing the struggle of training their employees on what to expect come November.
"In the hierarchy of manners, you see Japan at the very top, and you see the U.S. down toward the bottom," Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer says it begins with the greeting. She said Central Texans should opt for a verbal greeting rather than a handshake, since it's not common in many other cultures.
"We want to see them back over and over in our businesses. If that is going to be the case, we have to be really careful with some of the Hook 'em Horns (hand signals) and pointing at people and saying 'Come here,'” Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer warns servers of lingering table guests since its common for a meal to last a couple hours overseas. Also, in South and Central America, coffee is king.
"The best thing for you to do is know your customer, and know your client," Schweitzer said.
Tipping is also not a given and some restaurants are considering adding gratuity on the check or placing guides on the tables.
Durnil said he doesn't plan on doing either.
"Just like always, the better job you do, the more attention you provide to a table, and the more efficient you are in your serving you’re going to get a better tip. You are going to do a better job, and the customer should know that," Durnil said.
In turn customers will reward waiters and waitresses for creating a memorable experience.
Schweitzer says you should also treat business cards with respect by not writing on it or putting it in your back pocket. She said many cultures view the cards as a memory of the person's face.
The city is has a host of resources on how to prepare your business for Formula One. Click here for more information.