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Pulling Off the Perfect Business Breakfast Meeting

Morning routines are sacred to some, monotonous to others. Break it up the right way with a breakfast meeting that works for your office. After all, not everyone likes their eggs the same way.

Office culture has declared the business lunch dead. The madmen ways of getting half-arsed by noon are retired along with the trend of a leisurely 3-hour business lunch. Networking has evolved and business relationships are more likely to be forged over a digital handshake than a bottle of Chardonnay.

Besides the popular fallout of drinking on the clock, formal business lunches can be a thorn in the side of a productive day. Breakfast meetings, however, benefit from a fresh, early-morning mind and that first coffee kick of the day. The top things to consider when planning a breakfast meeting include venue (in-house or off-site), food, timing and agenda.

Choose the right venue

The first thing to decide is where to host the breakfast meeting. This breaks down into three main categories: restaurant, external conference venue or in-house meeting room. Each comes with their own benefits and draw backs depending on business needs and desired atmosphere. Consider the following to ensure your breakfast meeting is hosted in the right space.

Restaurants work great for small business meetings or hosting an exclusive group of external clients or partners. Breakfast meetings give a bespoke, intimate feeling that can be suited to certain areas of business; discussing career path, sharing visionary ideas, strengthening an existing relationship or forging a new one. If you’re based in London, you’ve got plenty of breakfast-worthy restaurants to choose from.

If hardware, however, is required it’s best not to mix your waffles with your whitepapers. For breakfast meetings that require presentations, note taking, privacy or involve more than 4-5 people, a proper conference venue or meeting room is better. Don't fuss over small tables crowed with salt and pepper shakers or syrup on laptops. Leave the bustling restaurant behind and ensure your breakfast meeting gets business done.

For regular meetings with internal teams, an in-house meeting room is almost always best. For one off or irregular meetings, or when your office doesn’t have the capacity to host such a meeting, off-site conference venues may work best.

Serve the right food

No breakfast meeting is complete without, well, breakfast! It’s not only the time of day that makes it a breakfast meeting, but also the sharing of the day's first meal. Food is a must and variety is key. Don’t box meeting attendees in with donuts and coffee only (though I do love a good chocolate twist!). Provide healthy options in addition to the classic pastry and coffee route. A few ideas:

Offer fresh juice and coconut water to keep attendees hydrated. Soda isn’t the morning’s beverage of choice and some people will have already indulged in their caffeine ritual at home. Coffee and tea alone won’t cut it, but be sure to include plenty of that too! 

Fill them up, but don’t serve empty carbs. Pair classic pastry and bagel platters with fresh and flavourful fillings like smoked salmon, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. This will give people something to dig their teeth into without feeling over-stuffed.

Go for salads, even in the a.m. Salads aren’t only for lunch and dinner, especially if selected right. Avoid anything too heavy like pasta salad and go for something light and fresh like caprese or Greek salad. Order salads as a shared platter so that people can piece together a nice variety plate for themselves.

Fruit is a must. Some people like to go all out for breakfast, others prefer a light start to the day. Try something seasonal, along with a mix of the classics (apples, oranges, bananas) and special delights (sliced watermelon, berries).

Be sure to offer something for everyone and consider the dietary needs of attendees. Vegan, vegetarian and halal-friendly options should be available.

Pick the right time

Morning can be divided into ungodly, early and late start. Consider your attendee’s commute times before scheduling anything before 8am. Get buy-in from your team should you wish to start before normal working hours. An 8am start may not excite the whole team, but if people are respectfully informed up front they'll be more likely to set their alarms and comply. 

An early start can be a big benefit for team moral and can surprisingly set a nice rhythm for everyone in the office. Many companies offer flexible worktimes and if you’re in the technology space, it’s typical for sales-types to start early and developer-types to start late. Breakfast meetings can synch the team and get everyone off on the same foot. If your team has a wide range of starting times, meet somewhere in the middle.

Set a clear agenda

A clear agenda will help steer the breakfast meeting in the right direction and leave attendees with a sense of accomplishment before the work day really begins. Having a clear agenda is important for any type of meeting, but a breakfast meeting with each minute cutting into the start of a fresh day must be air-tight. Ensure the meeting has an owner and is results-oriented.

Need help planning a breakfast meeting at your office? OfficeServe delivers food platters to offices in and around London as early as 7am, including weekends. Check out our menu and order online. 

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