RIP to the humble business lunch? Two thirds say working lunches aren't what they used to be

Edith Hancock
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A Lunchtime Chat
London's PRs are losing out on long lunches (Source: Getty)

What does one have to do to get a three course meal and a bottle of wine these days?

Bad news for PRs. British business is under threat from the death of the business lunch, according to new research.

If the appetite for Deliveroo's office lunch competition was anything to go by, work lunching just isn't what it used to be. Two thirds of Brits who have been working since the 80s have seen a decline in business lunches over their careers, but 40 per cent said a long lunch in the Square Mile is still a key driver of deals and company growth.

Read more: City boys flock to lunch with Lawrence Dallaglio

Financial pressure and a lack of time are both factors in the business lunch's decline, with 17 per cent of workers believing fallout from the 2008 financial crisis contributed to the death of the practice.

It may be a dying art, but over a third of workers said they would be more inclined to renew a contract or use a supplier after being wined and dined, according to the research from Bookatable.

Even when we do manage to escape the office for a bite to eat, it is neither long nor boozy. While for businesses in the 80s, eating in Michelin starred restaurants was the norm for 22 per cent of Brits and lunch was a much longer affair spanning two to three hours for three quarters of workers, now one third spend less than an hour on prandial practices and tend to opt for mid-range eateries that deliver to your desk.

Read more: The City's first cashless restaurant has just opened up

Meanwhile, drinking on the job is also in steep decline. Taking a leaf out of one First Energy banker's book, UK workers monitor their drinking far more carefully than they did 30 years ago.

The study found over a fifth of employees in the 80s didn't consider lunch a success until the client was drunk, with between three and four drinks being downed at midday. Now, only half that number would drink the same amount, while four in 10 killjoys won't touch a drop.