The Caterer

Long lunches persist but the boozy lunch is dead

03 June 2016 by
Long lunches persist but the boozy lunch is dead

Opportunities to become a legend in one's own lunchtime may be rapidly declining but reports of the death of the business lunch have been greatly exaggerated.

Research quoted in the national press as proving its demise also shows that 64% of workers still go on lunches lasting two to three hours.

According to a survey of 1,000 British workers on behalf of online booking service Bookatable, 41% now do not go to business lunches due to financial pressures and another 28% cannot go due to staff shortages. Of those that do attend, 34% spend an hour or less at the table compared with 75% of business lunchers spending two to three hours in the 1980s.

However, further investigation of the research shows that nearly two-thirds of those who lunch continue to lunch long, but perhaps not so hard. Some 38% said they did not drink alcohol at lunch meetings. Average spend has dropped from £42 a head in the 1980s to £35, which may be a reflection of the move away from booze.

Business lunches continue to be seen as valuable, with 40% of respondents stating that they are a key driver in clinching deals and 34% admitting they'd be more likely to renew a contract or use a supply after being wined and dined. Professions that rely on relationship building, such as PR, marketing and advertising, are concerned that the decline in business lunching will harm their businesses.

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