Monday, April 19, 2021

The New York Power Lunch Is Back, With New Rules

The Wall Street Journal provides some insights

“In-person is way better than anything,” said [Jonathan Mechanic, who chairs the real-estate department at Fried Frank, an international law firm headquartered in the city]. “It’s like the major leagues versus sandlot ball.”

The rules of the game have changed. Gatherings are more likely to occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, since many employees haven’t gone back to the office full time and are still likely to work Mondays and Fridays from home.

Diners are lingering over their food, almost as if the period coming out of the pandemic has prompted them to appreciate the business lunch as a social occasion as much as an opportunity to talk shop.

“It’s like they’re more having brunch than lunch,” said Michael Coll, general manager of Nerai, an East Midtown Greek restaurant.

There is also the sheer novelty of meeting clients and colleagues after a year of isolation. “You’re so happy to be with people who don’t live with you,” said Marlene Wallach, founder of Gleem Beauty, a skin-care company headquartered in the city.

Another shift: enjoying a cocktail or a glass of wine as part of the meal. That was once standard in New York power-dining circles but had changed in recent years with an emphasis on meals as serious and sober-minded affairs, say business people.

“I’m looking forward to having a martini” at lunch, said Milton Pappas, a semiretired venture capitalist who has been dining at high-end Greek restaurant Estiatorio Milos in Midtown with business associates...

Still, Gherardo Guarducci, co-founder of SA Hospitality Group, the restaurant company behind Casa Lever, said office occupancy numbers may be misleading. Even if the figures are far below pre-pandemic levels, the people who are returning to the workplace are executives for whom business meals are almost a necessity. “We’re seeing all the top brass,” he said of his dining crowd...
“They miss the food. They miss dining out,” said Mario Zeniou, director of operations at Estiatorio Milos, which also has a location at Hudson Yards.
On a recent weekday, Mr. Zeniou was overseeing his Midtown spot, which was filled indoors and outside, albeit at the state-mandated capacity of 50% indoors. As servers brought out plate after plate of grilled fish or Greek salad, Mr. Zeniou expressed optimism. “I think New York will come back much faster” than people expect, he said.


1 comment:

  1. Exactly on time as I said that remote working begins to crack. 12-18 months and earlier for billable hour and commission workers, such as lawyers and finance guys.