The long business lunch is back – or at least it will be if members of a new campaign have their way.
The Long Lunch Lobby, launched yesterday in conjunction with The Birmingham Post, wants local firms to pledge to resurrect leisurely lunches, and return to networking at the city’s restaurants and bistros.
A recent survey revealed Birmingham office workers are bottom of the UK lunch league with an average of just 33 minutes per day, many making do with a sandwich at their desk.
CityLiving Editor and Long Lunch Lobbyist Jon Perks said: “It’s the ideal environment for doing business, as everyone is relaxed, away from the phone, emails and other distractions.”
Ann Tonks, managing director of Opus Restaurant said: “Hallelujah! We salute the return of the long lunch. What better way to network and discuss business in depth, than over a leisurely meal with good wine… It’s already working for many of our customers (who, of course, shall remain nameless!).”
Chris Kelly, joint owner of Metro Bar & Grill: “I think in its early days Metro was built on long lunches, and we still have a few regular customers who insist on having one or two every week. People are very cynical about this but a lot of business does get done at these lunches; it’s often asked how businessmen in Spain and Italy manage to get work done and enjoy leisurely lunches – the simple answer is they combine the two – what could be better?”
The campaign aims to hold its first official Long Lunch at this summer’s Taste of Birmingham festival, which runs from July 10-13 at Cannon Hill Park in Edgbaston.
The afternoon of July 11 has been declared Return of the Long Lunch; businesses are invited to book tickets to attend the special networking event from 12-4pm.
Show manager Louise Hulse told the Post: “What better place to do business than at Taste of Birmingham? It’s an unmissable chance to network, share ideas and develop new business – as well as enjoy the culinary delights on show.”
Celebrity chefs Aldo Zilli and Antony Worrall Thompson will join 16 of the region’s finest restaurants including Opus, Simpsons, Metro, Lasan, Hotel du Vin and Ludlow’s Le Becasse at the event, where visitors can sample signature dishes, watch demonstrations, attend wine masterclasses and buy local produce from over 100 exhibitors.
Dave Hodgson, marketing director at Marketing Birmingham, said: “Taste of Birmingham is all about taking time out to enjoy good quality food in great surroundings. Combining this setting with a business agenda is the perfect combination as it allows people to relax and be more creative.
“The food and drink offering in the business sector is going from strength to strength with restaurants such as Opus and Purnell’s providing a quality dining experience for Birmingham’s business community.”
To book tickets for the Long Lunch, go to www.channel4.com/taste, click on Taste of Birmingham and go to the Features section. Alternatively call 0871 230 5581.