Seeing as we’re (excellent) trainers and haven’t spent considerable time in an office environment, we have both been heavily involved with the corporate world for over a decade each.
But the boozy corporate lunch- no. That is something we tell our clients to rein in. Now, it was our turn…
Extra mile- 5
Budget – High
*Scores are out of 10
Felix rating – 33/50 on a high budget (expensive for lunch)
This kind of meal- out somewhere reasonably expensive and full of ‘suits’ for lunch- is not really what we do. But as mentioned, it is a heavy feature for many of our past and present clients, and I would assume you readers too.
Now I personally have used and given many different and varying pieces of advice when it comes to the ‘how to’ and client/business lunches. Some people love it, and thrive off the environment of schmoozing, other see it as a necessary evil, but an awkward one to navigate.
So before I get into some of the ways to go about handling the business lunch, I’d like to ask you to have a think of your own varied scenarios, and which ones have gone well, which were difficult and which were plain annoying?
Seriously- you and only you are responsible for what you eat, drink and do. So to say that othrs actions dictated yours, for example having a few beers and sharing bottle after bottle of red, was unavoidable, I think, is a cop out.
Sure, you may have to play the part of entertainer, and be an equal part of the party, but that doesn’t mean you have to go full sheep and do all that they do.
If someone can’t respect you for standing by your beliefs/decisions then they have a problem, not you.
Still, there are other ways to tread carefully when it comes to lunches of this nature. I’ll let NN go into some specifics.
For our lunch, well that was very different to most business lunches… sure, we were surrounded by the standard fare, and we had a glass of Pinot Gris, but it was under no pressure, and we clearly made sound meal choices; sharing what was a healthy (I say that in the loosest- 1950’s definition of the word) serving of lamb shoulder, with starters of steak tartare (I’m hooked since Movida) and chicken liver parfait.
Suffice to say we were stuffed. Oops.
Felix was definitely full of the ‘business lunch’ type, however, it was also full of very nice food, great service and two full trainers…
I could very easily get used to the business lunch; in fact I would love to get dressed up, wear heels and go to work looking pretty every day, but since that’s not conducive to my gym environment, I will have to settle for ‘tendy business lunches’ (*tendy being the word that MC’s niece Millie using for ‘pretend’ games).
2pm and Felix was still heaving with business people schmoozing, cutting deals or having boisterous conversations about work related topics. One glance around the restaurant and it was easier to spot the tables absent of wine bottles than the other way round. I am always fascinated by how business is discussed over bottles of wine – one bottle of wine for me and Id be giving away trade secrets – I don’t think Id be the best negotiator in the world under those circumstances, however it seems to be the done way.
Much like MC I have spent a lot of time educating clients on how to negotiate their way through a business lunch, particularly when it comes to food ordering.
It does not need to be complicated, and it certainly does not need to be dramatic. Simply asking for salad or vegetables instead of chips is a great start, as well as ensuring that the meal is pro-protein. Many of these types of restaurants offer up generous serves of meat, and Felix was no excpetion. Our lamb shoulder for two, was absolutely stunning; falling apart at a feather of a touch. We also orderd an extra side of vegetables; the cauliflower, goats cheese, fennel and pomegranate dish (this was so good that we stole the recipe and re-created it at home). The serving size was good, and left us feeling well satisfied.
As for the drinking side of things, enjoying a glass of wine at lunch is no big deal, enjoying a whole bottle of wine to yourself is. Reducing the amount of alcohol at lunch will be the fastest way to keeping your overall calories (and waistline) in check. If need be switch to vodka, fresh lime and soda water or a Hendricks, cucumber and soda water – both of these are lower in calories than most drinks, and will keep you hydrated (oh, and keeps the bloating at bay FYI). At least by curbing the drinks you can keep a better control on your food intake, and most importantly walk away from the schmoozy lunch not wasted.For the record for all of those excuses as to why one has to drink at business lunches both MC and I have had clients successfully change their eating habits amongst the most hardened of old school businessmen. By holding your own so to speak, and standing firm by acknowledging that your health is coming first, you will command respect from other parties…. (MC’s note- fuck yes, stand up for yourself!)
…Just don’t order a Pina Colada with an umbrella on the side; that is deserving of some social bashing….