At present, global workplace activity is only 50% back to normal. Despite the slow start, it’s only a matter of time until things are mostly back to normal.
That means all those exciting networking events will be back. Are you planning a corporate lunch to celebrate the new normal, or woo new investors?
Try these five simple tips on how to plan a corporate lunch and pull it off in spectacular style.
- Choosing a Venue
The time, date, and venue for your business lunch depend largely on your guests. Businesspeople usually have jam-packed schedules, so start planning early if you want full attendance.
You can opt for a restaurant to host your lunch. This can make things a little easier, but it does limit your privacy and gives you less control over timing, menus, and the ambiance of your lunch.
That’s why many event planners opt for lunch in a company boardroom or other hired venue nearby. This gives you carte blanche when it comes to planning, catering, and timing.
It’s much easier to arrange an audio-visual presentation or hand out relevant paperwork in these settings too.
- Discuss Meal Preferences Early
It’s a good idea to ask about any dietary preferences or allergies when you send out the invitations to your event.
Nowadays, many people have decided to follow healthier lifestyle choices like vegan or vegetarian eating plans. Others may have adopted low carbohydrate diets or have religious or medical aspects that dictate what they eat.
Food allergies are another important consideration, so make it known to your guests that you’ll cater to all tastes. The last thing you need is one of your guests missing out on a meal because you didn’t plan accordingly.
All these types of food issues can impact your choice of restaurant and your budget, so get them out of the way early.
- Budgeting and Paying the Bill
If you opt for hiring a caterer, they’ll work closely with you to accommodate your budget. When you’re visiting a restaurant, there’s no telling how much you’ll need to pay.
As the host, it’s your duty to pick up the tab, but you don’t want the server to arrive and interrupt your meeting. To eliminate this possibility, make arrangements to pay after your guests have left.
Alternatively, you can leave your credit card at the front desk and settle the bill discretely on departure. Remember to keep your receipt for the guardians of your expense account.
- Get Professional Help With Your Corporate Lunch
There are plenty of benefits to hiring a corporate caterer to help you plan your event. Hosting your meeting in a boardroom keeps the corporate vibe going and gives you the privacy you need to focus on matters at hand.
A corporate lunch caterer can work within your budget, cater to any meal preference, and offer flexible personalized service. You can settle the bill in advance to eliminate interruptions, too.
It’s far less stressful than catering the event in-house and creates a good impression for your business. With dedicated servers at your disposal, you’re assured that your guests get the best service possible.
You’re assured of top-quality cuisine when you hire an established corporate caterer. It’s easy to find a good one by asking for referrals from friends and other businesses or looking up reviews online.
If you’re still unsure, most professional caterers will arrange a tasting before the event, so you can sample their wares and choose the best dishes for your occasion.
It’s best to stick to familiar, popular dishes, rather than exotic ones. Your caterer can help you set up a suitable menu.
For a real treat, you can also arrange for a professional entertainer to provide background music during your lunch. This is a nice touch and shows that you’re committed to enhancing the experience for your guests.
- Figuring Out the Final Details
Once you’ve decided on a menu and a venue, and received as many RSVPs as you can hope for, the real work starts.
It’s time to work on things like:
- A suitable seating plan
- An area to provide welcome drinks for early arrivals
- Decor and place settings
- Notepads and pens if needed
- Any necessary audiovisual equipment
- The meeting agenda and timeline
These smaller details relating to organizing a corporate lunch can have a major impact on whether you’ll come across as a professional or a rank amateur.
If you’re hosting the event outside of work, remember to arrange free parking for your guests too.
- Stick to Business
Remember, you’re hosting a business lunch, so make sure you discuss all the important issues first. Circulate the agenda before your lunch, so that everyone’s on the same page and arrives prepared.
Some people prefer to eat first and discuss business later or allow their guests to enjoy a drink before getting down to business.
It’s vital to stick to your proposed timeline as closely as possible though. People may have other responsibilities after lunch.
Remember, that someone should take minutes throughout the business lunch, or you can ask for permission to record the proceedings.
Once business concludes, you can all relax, tuck into your carefully sourced meal, and enjoy as much small talk as you want.
Back to Business As Usual
Hosting a corporate lunch is a good way to squeeze in a meeting during an otherwise off-limits time frame. It also allows participants to interact less formally.
If you’re meeting with outside investors or clients, the lure of a free lunch can boost attendance, too. So, don’t let trepidation hold you back. Follow these tips, and you’re sure to get through the occasion with the least stress possible.
Would you like some extra help to make the most of the modern corporate world? Browse our business section for more.