Business requires you to have regular discussions with people outside your staff. You want to land clients, connect with a mentor, recruit talent, or close deals with business partners. Phone calls and Skype aren’t enough; you need a face-to-face encounter in most cases.
Going to their offices might sound good; meeting for a drink sounds better. But a business lunch is the best because it gives a personal touch and makes a great impression in the process. Indeed, business lunches are very important and can certainly help you out greatly.
At the same time, you do want to think about the major cash outlay that may be present over time. While it may be wonderful to have chef-designed recipes regularly at different restaurants, it is great to make sure to look at different options to save money.
If you are thinking about the costs, relax. This simple guide will discuss seven ways to save money on business lunches and plan it. You can also use the ideas here to plan charity galas and business conferences.
A business lunch isn’t something you announce unexpectedly. You need to know the need for lunch and the goals you want to accomplish. You also want to decide if one or several people will be in attendance.
Further, you need to know if your guests will be open to meeting you for lunch. Their schedule also matters. If they are open to the idea but can’t make it to lunch at a reasonable time, you should consider other options.
Planning ahead also requires you to have a spending limit. Remember, it’s lunch; you don’t have to break the bank for it. If you feel overwhelmed, you can hire a planner to help with that. (More on that later).
Select the Right environment
Business discussions can be influenced by where they take place. If you hold them in their offices, you are in their territory. Plus, you might get interrupted by calls, emails, or their colleagues. Your office is your turf, and that would make them put up a guard. This is why business lunches are so great.
You don’t have to go all fancy here. Choose a quiet restaurant or a lounge where you can hear each other. This might be a challenge during lunchtime, so you have to do some research. You want to make sure to minimize the need to go to the grocery store to obtain fresh ingredients and present exactly what you want to provide, an excellent experience.
Hire a party planner
If you are organizing a business lunch for a large group of people, you should consider hiring a party planner or a catering crew. Of course, you are not having a party but a catering company like Corky’s Catering can help you in saving money. The professionals at Corky’s Catering can bring out more food and will help you to simplify the business lunch.
Experienced individuals at catering companies like Corky’s Catering know excellent spots where you can fit many people and hold discussions without distractions. They can arrange with the staff and management to organize and polish the event. They can also get the right prices, saving you money in the process.
You can also describe your preferred setting to the planner. It could be casual, elegant, trendy, or classic. Whatever your choice, a planner can make it work. They will draw up a budget based on the number of your guests and your preference. If it’s above your spending limit, they will suggest alternatives.
Ask their food preferences
This is a must, especially for guests you don’t know personally. Some might be on a strict diet. Some might be allergic to certain foods. Others might have religious or ethical reasons for avoiding certain foods. They could even be vegan or vegetarian. (Yes, there’s a difference between those two.)
You don’t want to spend half the lunch apologizing for the food and finding suitable replacements. This will translate into more costs. That is why you should ask your guests about their food preferences.
It is these details that will help you decide which happy hour place that you may want to go to or which restaurant would meet your needs. If you were going with a restaurant for your meal, you would have to account for allergies, cultures, and other aspects for your guests to have a great time.
It would be best to look at a restaurant that has more reviews and visits.
Get a corporate catering service to handle the menu
You don’t want to simply ask your guests what they would prefer to eat. Remember, this is your turf. Besides, it makes you look disorganized.
What you should do is to get a corporate catering service to arrange food options. If you like, the service could be the one to call the guests and ask about their food preferences based on the available food options. Many people will appreciate the attention and react warmly.
Catering services can help you save costs by offering discounts. It costs less than paying for individual meals.
If you want to host many people, focus on wedding catering services. They know how to develop catering menu ideas for people with different food preferences. If you don’t know where to start, try googling ‘wedding catering services near me.’ You are sure to find some good options.
Control the setting
The typical business meeting lasts for 20 minutes. With a business lunch, you can have up to 90 minutes with your guests. That’s enough time to get things rolling. To maximize the opportunity, you need to control the setting.
If it is a one-on-one lunch, choose a table that allows privacy. Keep your back to the wall and make sure you can see the door. Ensure you are directly in the view of your guest.
For large gatherings, aim for a direct view with the main guest. You also want to make sure that the important guests are in the center of the table.
8. Take cues from your guests
While you are in charge, you should take cues from your guest. If they want the small talk to extend, oblige them. You can always discuss business over desserts. If they are eager to begin discussions, ease into the topic as the meal progresses.
You need to be cultured during lunch. However, do not do things that would make your guest look uncultured. Mirror their behavior. Laugh when they laugh. If they break table manners, indulge them. Try to create a common ground and an unforgettable memory. This will help during the business talks.
Bonus tip: Experience is everything
A business lunch is about making the right impression. It can become a bedrock for a mutually beneficial relationship when done right. Be entertaining and yet have a firm grasp on the purpose of the lunch.
Work with Corky’s Catering for Your Business Lunch Meetings
Our professionals can account for various meals. Whether you are looking for assistance with dining at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, our professionals can certainly help you. Reach out to us at Corky’s Catering to learn about how we account for appetizers, entrees, and everything else so that you can dine at your business lunch with peace.