Business Law

SLA-NY Midtown Lunch @Thalia (April 27, 2010): Great Eats with Extraordinary Company

Winter Shanck | SLA-NY Midtown Lunch Chair |

Photos by Winter Shanck © 2010.

I enjoy entertaining people in my home, at my office, and just about anywhere a small or large group can be gathered. That’s why in 2008, when I learned that the President of the New York Chapter was looking for a midtown lunch planner to complement the downtown lunches being planned by Maggie Smith, I jumped at the opportunity to fill the position. I’ve been planning the midtown lunches ever sense then.

The last midtown lunch was held on April 27th, 2010 at Thalia’s on 8th Ave and 50th Street. This was the fourth lunch that I successfully planned and executed since taking over in 2008. Twenty-four people attended the noon time meal and based on popular opinion, this was the most well received lunch. In speaking to each person at the lunch I learned that the food and service was outstanding and several people alluded to the fact that they wouldn’t mind attending a future lunch hosted at Thalia.

So, what goes into planning a SLA-NY lunch?

The first decision that needs to be made when planning a lunch is deciding where to host the noon time meal. The host location should have a nice ambience and should be able to accommodate a group (usually about 15-25 people). If possible, the space where the lunch is set up should allow for easy conversation amongst attendees. After all, the goal of the lunch is to allow for networking with colleagues in the field.

Photos by Winter Shanck © 2010.

The next step involves communicating with your location of choice to pick a suitable date for the restaurant and the Chapter. The best way to communicate with the restaurant is to speak to the manager or the private/group dining coordinator of the restaurant, if applicable. You want to make sure that the event date doesn’t conflict with any other happenings in either organization.

Now the fun part: planning the meal. If possible, try to choose a restaurant where you have all ready enjoyed a meal. If this is not possible, then start by looking at the restaurant’s website to see if they have any pre-fixe menus that are cost effective. If a selection of pre-fixe menus are available, then work with the restaurant to choose the menu that you think will appeal to the most people. If no pre-fixe is available, then you will have the opportunity to work with the manager or private dining coordinator to set a three-course menu at a price point that would work for a majority of the potential attendees.

Photos by Winter Shanck © 2010.

Once the date, menu and price is establish, you can publish an invitation notice to the SLA-NY Chapter listserv. The notification should be sent at least three weeks prior to the date of the lunch. Your invitation should include a way for people to RSVP and an end date that the last RSVP will be accepted. Also, a reminder invitation to RSVP should be posted to the listserv at least one week prior to the date of the lunch.

Finally, a few days before the lunch date, you should finalize the reservation with the host location and send a personal reminder to the people who RSVP’d to attend the lunch. This will give people a chance to cancel if their schedule no longer permits them to attend the event.

What do I get out of it?

Each host location has offered the opportunity to try new food and to meet new and interesting people. Over the past two years, I have consume great food with extraordinary company. If planning a lunch sounds like something you would be interested in doing, please don’t hesitate to take these tips and plan your own lunch on a smaller scale.

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