How to: Handle a Boozy Business Lunch
Lunches that go on ’til dinner time, and dinners that go on ’til the early morn, the average business meeting in 2019 has transformed from a time and place to get stuff done, into a competition in who can show their client the best time, and that tends to involve five bottles of your smoothest pinot noir and a round of your peatiest whiskeys por favor. If, however you would like to actually accomplish what you set out to, whilst getting yourself and your guests suitably plastered (because all the best deals are sealed while under the influence, no?), then this is how you do it…
If you’re the first one there
Forget about the stale digestives and instant coffee of your average office meeting room, you’ve chosen, or have been invited to, a venue that serves an array of alcoholic beverages, and what for if not to be enjoyed by you? Whilst getting sloshed before your lunch meeting is not a wise choice, if you’re the first to arrive, it’s probably fine to have a drink in front of you when they get there. You don’t want to go ordering a bottle of wine for the table, assuming you already know what your guests drink (unless of course you do), or going straight in with a glass for yourself when you’ll most likely be ordering a bottle for the table. No, go for a cool craft beer or a classy gin and tonic. Safe anything heavier for later on in the meeting, for now, you want to keep your wits about you and suss out the vibe of the rest of the group …
Stick to the genre of alcohol you’ve all silently agreed on
Even if you feel like slugging espresso martinis all night, maybe try and restrain yourself. If the others suggest ordering a bottle of wine for the table, don’t be the one to go against the grain, you want to be a team player, and if you still feel like it, you can get a round of e-marty’s for dessert. And another thing - take note of whether your cohorts are drinking slower than you’d like to be drinking yourself, and try not to overtake them. If you decide to go down the path of a boozy business lunch, you’ll all want to be on the same level, there’s a fine line between a good time and being remembered as the drunkest one at the party.
Don’t forget what you’re here to do
Whilst getting mildly tanked amongst company with similar interests in inebriation can get distracting, don’t forget what you came here to do. Whilst plying the others in the meeting with booze can make signing a deal go all the more smoothly, make sure you’re not too gone yourself to make it actually happen. If the conversation goes too far off topic, gently steer it back to where you want it to be. You can get back to downing those digestifs once the deal is sealed.
Once you’ve got what you came there for, any sensible person would grab the bill and make a swift exit. You however - and hopefully your fellow diners too - are five chardonnays and a cocktail deep and probably don’t want to stop there. So if, and only if, you are the organiser of said meeting (as you’ll be the one picking up the bill), why not order a round of that single malt you spotted on the menu earlier? Or maybe a Frangelico? Maybe a port? Just a little tipple to finish off the night right. Don’t however, let anyone leave the meeting so drunk that the details of whatever was agreed upon risk changing should someone wake up with a sore head and a memory blank the next morning.
Check out the Royal Exchange of Sydney, one of the CBD's leading corporate lunch venue. The restaurant is perfect for business meetings and group lunches, while the private dining room is suitable for a more discreet meal. Make a reservation online today, or contact them at Manager@royalexchange.com.au for more information.