One of the books that Randy Mayeux presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis approximately ten years ago is Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (Crown, 2005). The author is Keith Ferrazzi.
Of course, the assumption behind the book is that there are people to eat with.
I thought it was interesting today in a column written by Cassandra Jaramillo, published in the Dallas Morning News, entitled “Let’s Talk Over Lunch,” (June 26, 2017, p. E1), that fewer people are actually going out to lunch. That means there are fewer people to talk with, and even fewer to develop relationships with.
The article presents statistics that reveal Americans made 433 million fewer trips to restaurants for lunch last year. Financially, translates into lost business of more than $3.2 billion.
Anecdotally, the article notes that if you live in the DFW area, this is not the case. The sub-title of the article is “The business crowd in North Texas defies national trend.” Undocumented observations in the article indicate that the lunch crowd is very strong here. Many restaurants, including some high-end varieties, are even now providing additional take-out options.
This may be the case. I rarely eat with anyone, including lunch. But, the few times that I do, it all depends upon where I am. Price does not seem to be an issue. For example, I am amazed at the packed crowds at Pappadeaux’s, which even at luncheon prices, would set you back about $25 per person.
Historically, I can tell you that the trend is not accurate. I am an active member of the Dallas High Noon Club. We meet weekly on Thursdays at the Hilton Doubletree Love Field hotel. The lunch is only $15, including salad, entrée, dessert, and tea or coffee. The meal value is likely about $30. Yet, we get only about 20 participants each week. I first spoke to this club in 1995, before I was even a member. The club met downtown then, and drew approximately 100 attendees at the same price we now charge. In other words, the attrition is about 80% in about 22 years.
There are two factors at work here. One, do you wish to spend the time to eat lunch with someone else? Pssst…it takes longer than eating by yourself. And, second, do you have someone you would like to eat lunch with? If you can’t answer the second question, you cannot even consider the first.
My business partner, Randy Mayeux, is strong at this endeavor. He holds regular lunch meetings with others on both relationship and business issues. He agrees with the premises in the book that he presented over a decade ago.
Whether I agree or disagree with those premises is irrelevant at this time. My situation now does not allow me to eat lunch with others. Perhaps in 6-8 weeks that will change. But, in the meantime, I am considering making a list of people I would like to meet to eat lunch with. We’ll see if that materializes.
P.S. – If the Dallas High Noon Club is of interest to you, you can get information about the weekly program by calling (214) 638-0345.