No such thing as a free lunch » SMEInsider

No such thing as a free lunch

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Next week marks National Business Lunch Week, 5 days of celebration of the art of the deal decided over a good meal. The initiative has been launched by Bookatable, which this published research that showed that  66 per cent of working Brits have seen a decline in business lunches during their careers.

According to the research, financial pressures (41 per cent) and a lack of time (28 per cent) are both factors in the decline of business lunches, with 17 per cent of workers believing fallout from the “credit crunch” contributed to the death of the practice. The effect of that trend could be serious, with 30 per cent of workers in professions that rely on relationship building – such as marketing, advertising and PR – worrying that the decline could harm their business.


Wining and dining not dead yet

And there seems life in the business lunch, yet. Over a third of workers (34 per cent) admit they would be more inclined to renew a contract or use a supplier after being wined and dined. A further 18 per cent believe that suppliers who take them on business lunches care more about their business.

Nevertheless, a quarter of Brits (25 per cent) feel they go on fewer business lunches now compared to when they first started work and 38 per cent feel it is less acceptable to take time out of the office to attend lunches. Other factors may include health, with many workers now more health conscious at work.

Commenting on the findings, Bookatable CEO Joe Steele, said: “Compared to the seemingly decadent days of the 80s, the business lunch has been on the decline in recent years. Our research shows that perceived expense and a lack of time are major contributing factors – but many restaurants now offer incredible lunchtime deals coupled with speedy service.

Doing business over lunch is still a fundamental way to build vital working relationships and Bookatable will shine the light on modern business lunch options during National Business Lunch Week. We want to encourage British business to get out of the meeting room and into the dining room.”