Many great deals have been made over lunch. There’s something about food, drink, and good company that generally helps ensure a successful business luncheon. However, if it’s your first time hosting a business luncheon, you’re probably a bit unsure how to proceed for best results.

successful business luncheon

4 Tips to Make a Successful Business Luncheon

Whether it’s a luncheon with dozens of prospective clients, or a quieter lunch with a handful of close business partners, there’s a lot that goes into hosting a successful luncheon. Every situation is unique, but the following tips will help as you get things moving in the right direction.

Determine a Budget

The first step is to think about the budget you have for the luncheon. If it’s something your company is taking care of for you, reach out to the appropriate individuals and get an idea of what a reasonable cost is. If you’re paying for the lunch yourself, run some numbers and figure out which figures make the most sense. There’s a huge difference between having a $500 budget and a $5,000 budget. Knowing ahead of time how much you have to spend will help you make strategic selections with venue, food, and other important elements.

Choose the Right Venue

Where will the luncheon be hosted? Not only does this matter from a cost perspective, but it also has a significant impact on attendees’ perception of the event. If it’s in a bland conference room in the back corner of your office building, this doesn’t do you many favors. If, however, you host the luncheon at a well-known restaurant in a ritzy party of town, guests will be impressed and more likely to take you seriously.

When searching for a venue, think about versatility. You want an event space that has different sized rooms, an array of price points, and a good food/drink selection. The Regatta Hotel in Brisbane is a great example of the sort of event space you should be looking for. Find something like this in your area and call to get some information on availability.

Invite Guests

The next step is to invite guests. When inviting people, you want to be sure you’re setting the right expectations. If you’re planning on using the luncheon as an opportunity to give a sales pitch, mention this ahead of time. Say something like, “Hey, I was wondering if you’d like to come to an hour-long luncheon I’m hosting. It’ll be pretty casual, but I’ll be talking for 10 minutes or so about this new product my company is launching. I think you’d be interested.”

Have a Loose Plan

Once you select the right venue, invite the guests, and figure out the logistics, the majority of your work is done. However, don’t go into a luncheon without a plan – no matter how casual it’s supposed to be. You need to be aware of the time and be prepared to keep conversation flowing at all times. The worst thing that can happen is for there to be awkward lulls or a lack of clarity on what to do.

You Live and You Learn

The first business luncheon you host might not be the event of the season, but it doesn’t have to be. As is the case in almost any area of life, you live and you learn. You’ll look back and identify areas for improvement. You’ll also reflect and see things that worked well. The key is to keep moving forward and refine your approach over time. Once you have a handful of these events under your belt, you’ll start to feel more comfortable with being a host and the experience will help you become better a building relationships with clients.