Taking a business client out for a long lazy lunch used to be the surefire way to clinch that killer contract. Part meal, part meeting a business lunch was the perfect recipe for a productive discussion.
But it seems the days of three-course lunches are off the agenda as busy executives forgo the midday meal for a more efficient and shorter breakfast meeting.
The trend has been growing in popularity around the world for a number of months – with restaurants and hotels in the United Kingdom and the United States seeing a rise in the breakfast boom. In London, Claridge’s has reported “queues for breakfast stretch out of the restaurant door” and the famous Wolseley and The Cinnamon Club are also catering to the early morning brigade. In LA, New York and Chicago many well-known restaurants offer power breakfasts for the suited and booted.
Now the concept is coming to the UAE as business executives attempt to get the maximum productivity out of their day.
For some professionals the worsening traffic situation has forced them to rethink how they conduct their business affairs. The traditional Dubai 5pm to 8pm rush hour has been replaced with jams that start building up from 2pm. As a result, rather than having an entire nine-hour working day in which to schedule meetings, companies are cramming them into the morning in a bid to beat the jams.
Michelle Rice, the rental manager at Think Space, a Dubai-based real estate company, has seen her diary become fuller in the early morning. She meets several clients before heading to the office and believes breakfast meetings can be very productive.
“Everybody is really, really busy now and there just isn’t time for long business lunches. Breakfast meetings are great because people are alert, there is no chance of them running on because people have to get to work,” says Rice, who attends around two breakfast meetings a week. But signing deals over the breakfast table is not the only flavour of the month. Networking in the early morning has also become more popular and for this reason the Dubai-based British Business Group (BBG) has made it a monthly event.
“Sessions start at 7.30am and are over by 9am, so people can still put in a full day at the office,” says BBG’s Chairman, Mark Beer. He adds: “Business breakfasts are becoming more popular and serve an important purpose. With lunchtime events people are concerned about traffic and taking time out of their schedule, but breakfasts are not in work time and more can be achieved over a short period.”
Hotels have also seen a breakfast boom. The Fairmont Dubai – a business hotel located directly opposite the Trade Centre – recently reported an increase in morning profits. “We have seen more meetings taking place in the morning, especially in our restaurants,” says PR manager Alka Patel.
“Many patrons come in with laptops and provide their clients with presentations, jot down notes and conduct meetings over a full breakfast and we have even noticed groups of people conducting a morning ‘pre meeting’ before heading up to the conference rooms.
Another reason why breakfast meetings are better is to do with health, says nutritionist Maria Schatz from the Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It replenishes blood sugar levels, speeds up metabolism and gives people the energy they need to start the day,” she says.
Choosing the right breakfast can have a positive effect on performance at work. In order to stay alert and focused, as well as full until lunch, choose these foods first thing in the morning.
Blueberries are especially beneficial, according to Dr Steven Pratt and Kathy Matthews, authors of Superfoods: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, who says they reduce oxidative stress in the brain.
They might not be the easiest things to eat for breakfast, but sprinkle them over cereal and their vitamin E content will help decrease memory loss as you age.
Found in foods such as wholewheat bread, bran, cheese and eggs this vitamin energises the brain.
Meats and the protein they contain help improve mental performance, so try replacing the fry with a continental-style breakfast, which will also contain less harmful fats.
Oatmeal has a low GI rating, which means it releases energy slowly throughout the day, helping people stay alert while avoiding fluctuating blood sugar levels that cause the mid-morning dip.
Seal the deal early in the day