illustration by daniel downey
We’re told from a young age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So it’s about time that the business world got hip to that idea and gave the breakfast meeting its due.
It helps that everyone loves going for breakfast – except surly teenagers who hate everything and would rather sleep in. It’s society’s collective happy place, a syrup-scented sojourn that leaves us ready, willing and able to take on whatever the day throws our way.
Breakfast-meeting naysayers will argue that’s precisely why you should keep it to yourself, that the pleasure of going for breakfast is corrupted when you add to it the drudgery of work-related obligation. But why not see the fresh-squeezed orange juice glass as half full instead? Because breakfast meetings don’t ruin breakfast, rather, they enhance and improve the workday.
For starters, a breakfast meeting has the benefit of good timing. It’s the first thing on your daily work calendar and, therefore, has your undivided attention. Lunch meetings are more apt to interrupt your work groove, driving a wedge into your flow of productivity, making the rest of the afternoon a game of catch-up, and, in some cases, necessitating you stay late.
Breakfast meetings also proceed at a more pleasant pace compared to their mid-day counterparts. Today’s lunch meetings aren’t the languid three-martini respites enjoyed in decades past. The modern lunch meeting is more likely to be a dry, dashed-off affair with frantic wait staff trying to turn over crammed-together tables in the 45-minute window that is expected (often demanded) by the lunch-hour clientele. You’ll be lucky if you can get a word in with your meeting mates amid the crush.
Then there’s the issue of lunch itself becoming rather pass. While experts in diet and nutrition have never wavered on the importance of breakfast, many now recommend eating multiple small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day, rather than one mid-day lunch.
Across the pond, there’s a movement afoot extolling the economic and health-related benefits of breakfast meetings. They’ve even designated an annual London Breakfast Meetings Week in early October. Here in Calgary, we don’t need a special week to get us on the breakfast-meeting train. This is, after all, a city that claims a spiritual heritage to ranching culture and its syrup-drenched flapjacks washed down with cowboy coffee at the crack of dawn. We love our breakfast so much we’ve made free pancakes an integral part of the Calgary Stampede – our calling card event – on par with the rodeo itself.
Calgary is also an early-to-bed, early-to-rise city, which is a big part of why the late-night dining scene here is somewhat sparse. But a city of morning go-getters who need to be at work by 7 a.m. if they want to keep up with their counterparts on Eastern Standard Time is a city primed to do business over breakfast, crunching numbers over crunchy granola and forming European market strategies over French toast.