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Survey Shows it Pays to Take Your Customer to Lunch

By March 2, 2011August 10th, 2020No Comments
take your client to lunch, with two executives sitting in a restaurant booth, smiling broadly while looking at a piece of paper

In December of 2009, Robert Half released the results of its study, “The Value Meal.” The leading sentence starts, “CFO Survey Shows it Pays to Take Your Client to Lunch.” I thought the data in the table below was very interesting as to the favorite places for networking.

Here is the text of the press release:

Breaking bread, having lunch, with key contacts is good business, according to a recent survey of chief financial officers (CFOs). More than a third (36 percent) of executives surveyed said their most successful business meeting outside the office was conducted over a meal.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “Other than in the office, what was the location of your most successful business meeting ever?” Their responses:

Restaurant/Lunch 36%
Trade show or conference 25%
Sporting event 4%
Golf course 3%
In a car 1%
On a trip/plane 1%
Nowhere else, only in the office 24%
Other/don’t know/refused 4%

Note:  Total does not equal 100% due to rounding

“A well-chosen restaurant can offer a neutral, more relaxed environment than the office, often with fewer distractions,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “Having lunch and  sharing a meal with clients or colleagues puts all parties more at ease and helps to establish rapport.”


Mr. McDonald offers the following 6 tips to ensure a successful business meeting outside the office:

  1. LOCATION.  Choose the right location. If you’re planning on a restaurant, select one that is quiet, easy-to-find and provides excellent lunch food and service.
  2. MENU.  Make sure the menu has enough variety to accommodate anyone with dietary restrictions.
  3. ARRIVAL Arrive early. Plan on getting to the meeting before your guests so you can select a comfortable spot and be there to greet them.
  4. SCHEDULE.  Stay on schedule. While you want to postpone talking shop until after you’ve ordered, don’t let the meal go on too long if your client has told you he or she has limited time to meet. On the other hand, if things are going well, avoid rushing to get your bill.
  5. FOCUS.  Give them your undivided attention. Never take cell phone calls or check e-mail at the table. As the host, it’s your job to make sure the meeting is productive and on topic.
  6. MANNERS.  Practice good manners. Always treat the restaurant or facility staff with courtesy and respect.

Photography Source:  DepositPhotos
#chiefstoryteller #executivecommunication #leadership #networking

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.