Mmm! On Monday we talked about how to make the most out of your business luncheon. Here’s a few more quick tips we’ve compiled for you.

It’s a fact

There’s a growing trend for people to get out of their offices for business meetings and to use the café or coffee shop as an extension of their workplace. Small businesses, corporate enterprise, and government are all using the cosmopolitan café environment, creating a more casual and relationship-based approach to client and staff meetings.

The workforce is moving away from working 9 to 5 at one location. It is much more fragmented and casualised. It is also cost-effective for some businesses to no longer have offices.

The business lunch was generally the prerogative, almost exclusively, of male CEOs. This new phenomenon is more broad-based, more inclusive. The increasing number of women in the work-force are at the leading edge of this ‘new business lunch’. They have a different way of doing business that is much more relationship-oriented.

However, you must bring an expectation that you are there for a purpose – to network, to establish or maintain a business relationship, or explore possibilities. Successful café meetings should be informal but with clear goals. There are usually a set of issues rather than a formal agenda.

For heavy out-of-office negotiations, choose a restaurant rather than a café.

Here’s a quotable quote for you!

“Remember the 3Cs: your calories, the cost, and the clock.”

Jeffrey Mayer, If You Haven’t Got the Time to Do it Right, When Will You Have the Time to Do It Over, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1990, p. 107.

Don’t forget

Here’s some good advice…

  • Pick a restaurant near where the majority of meeting attendees are coming from, to cut down on travel time.
  • Ask for an early reservation – you’ll get quicker service and less noise.
  • Limit alcohol, as it shortens the attention span and lengthens the meeting.

The priority

‘Your behaviour, whatever type of entertainment setting is chosen – breakfast, lunch, dinner, party, holiday bash – is always under scrutiny. Business entertaining may stimulate the interpersonal relationships that help businesses grow, but it is still primarily business, not a social interaction.’

Jan Yager, Business Protocol.

Why business dinners should always start in the bar

It’s hard to talk business over dinner: People are trying to eat, restaurants are often noisy, and you keep getting interrupted. That’s why, when you set up a business lunch or dinner, you should try to arrange to meet in the restaurant bar, if possible. Set the meeting time for 45 minutes before your reservations. Then, try to conduct as much business as possible before you sit down. Use the time while you’re actually eating to engage in small talk, and get to know your counterpart better – just as you would during a non-business dinner.


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