How to Run a Successful Lunch Meeting

Some of the most successful meetings in our office took place over a tasty meal at our favourite restaurant in Singapore, but dining while closing a deal comes with its own challenges. What’s the easiest food to eat as while you talk? When should you start talking shop? Even with only these concerns, preparing for a lunch meeting is stressful enough. But worry no more, we’ve got you set for success with these six tips for achieving a productive lunch meeting.

Businesspeople on lunch.

  1. Look for a Perfect Location and Arrive Early

Nothing says you have everything under control like settling in your table with a drink in hand while waiting for your guest. As much as possible, arrive 15 minutes earlier to your chosen location to ensure that you’ll start your meeting on time, and to reserve a table in an area with minimal noise.

Although it’s more appropriate to meet your guest at the front of the restaurant in some circumstances, you’ll likely feel more ready to get down on business if you’re already settled on your table. Just ensure to pick a seat facing the door to keep an eye out for your guests and to make a quick note of where the restrooms are in case you need to take a brief and graceful exit.

  1. Plan Your Discussions Based on Courses

Ideally, you already know what you want from this lunch meeting. Are you thinking of venturing into a new business opportunity? Are you checking up on the status of a project? Pick one or two things you want to be discussed during your meeting, and focus on perfectly executing it. Keep in mind that a restaurant lunch isn’t the place to review a list of your concerns, so focus on a few goals.

A great trick to do this is to think of your lunch meeting content happening in ‘courses’, the same way you’ll have a lunch, drink and get the tab. More concrete discussions can take place over the meal and wrapping it with some casual chit-chat is great way to end the meeting as you wait for the check.

  1. Order Fork-Only Meals

Choose easy to eat foods for your meeting, and if possible, only order foods that are eaten with fork. Salads are always a good choice, as well as any combo of appetizers that come in tiny bites. You’d also want to let your guest order first, and just follow it with another order if he or she opts for two courses.


  1. Jot Down Important Points

One of the trickiest parts of having a lunch meeting is handling papers or taking down notes as you eat. So do yourself a favour, and prepare a pen and notebook in a small pocket of your bag – you wouldn’t want to fish around for these items when your discussion gets interesting while you eat. You’ll also want to carry a notebook that’s a few inches tall to have enough room for your notes. If you’re bringing documents, however, then do opt for a pad folio with a zipper to keep everything organized.

  1. End the Meeting With Authority

The end of a lunch meeting can be awkward if you don’t know how to properly wrap things up. If you have some concerns that needs to be cleared, discuss them while the plates are being cleared and before the check arrives. If you organized the meeting, then do the honour of paying for your meals. Close the meeting by inquiring about when you’ll next see the person, and feel free to let them depart first as you take care of the bill. You can also use this free time to jot down a few notes that you failed to write down during the meeting.

  1. Follow-Up After Your Meeting

Not being in the office setting is a great way to further develop your business relationships, as well as your professional tool kit. To keep the momentum of lunch meeting going, send an email or a text message the same day to thank your guest for their time. Remember, a great follow-up is as important as the meeting itself since it gives you another opportunity to demonstrate your organization skills and professionalism.

Planning out a lunch meeting can be quite tricky, but using the aforementioned tips on your following lunch meetings will definitely ensure that you’ll achieve a positive outcome from the meeting you organized.

Businesspeople having a lunch break.