Lunch meetings are a fairly popular casual meeting plan, but is that a good thing? If you’re hosting the meeting, it’s customary for you to provide lunch (especially if it’s a mandatory meeting). Lunch meetings can get expensive if you have them regularly and invite entire teams out, but they can also be beneficial to team building and the company culture. Here are a few things you should consider before calling a lunch meeting.
To cater or eat out?
Hosting a lunch meeting in your office is practical for a few reasons; all the materials you need are already within reach, your team can get to and from the meeting quickly (short transit time), and you’ll be able to set up beforehand. However, if it’s supposed to be a special treat, an in-office lunch meeting may feel too much like a regular day at work (minus a break for lunch).
Plenty of seating
If you do decide to eat out, make sure the place you choose has plenty of seating. The seats should also be in a good position to discuss with each other, so avoid all sitting at a bar (you’ll all be facing the bar tender instead of each other), or too-long tables that are hard to speak across.
Try to select a place that allows reservations, and request a table in the corner or by the window to avoid too many distractions. This will also help with the level of noise you’ll have to deal with.
Level of noise
Since you’ll be discussing meeting items during lunch, select a place that isn’t too loud. Bars and noisy family restaurants aren’t ideal because the sounds will get distracting. Instead, select a quiet cafe or restaurant and get a table in the corner to avoid disturbing your fellow diners.
Check to see if any of the meeting attendees have dietary restrictions, and plan accordingly. If someone who will be joining you is allergic to fish, don’t go to a seafood restaurant. The menu selection should offer something for all your attendees, and have a nice range of options and prices.
If you’re inviting people to a lunch meeting, it’s customary for you to foot the bill. Keep your budget in mind when selecting a restaurant. If you want to stay within a certain price range, select a lunch venue that only has options within your range (ie. don’t go to a steakhouse with $100 cuts if your budget is $20 per person).
Not working? Try breakfast instead
If you want to take the team or key partners out for food but find that lunch isn’t working, try breakfast instead. There’s evidence that shows breakfast meetings are more productive than lunch ones, plus if they don’t work out you haven’t interrupted the flow of your day too badly.