Personalized guest attention and individual menu details are the hallmarks of today’s new power lunches.
Take the case of Les Trois Chevaux in the West Village, where chef Angie Mar personally welcomes every member of a party with a handwritten note.
It’s that sort of concierge attention that is helping to revive the power lunch, which is taking on a new look in post-pandemic iteration.
Yes, reports of the death of the power lunch, announced in the days of Covid-19, along with the so-called great resignation and the birth of the remote-work culture, has proven, as Mark Twain would have said, “greatly exaggerated.”
After all, the signing of a business deal over a hardy meal of steak and wine is a New York mainstay.
In fact, the power lunch never really went away because, as any New York CEO will tell you, that’s how things get done in the Big Apple.
According to OpenTable, midday dining is up 17 percent this year in New York, while nationwide lunch numbers only increased 3 percent year-on-year.
Much of that increase can be linked to a widespread return to the office.
Power lunches are a perk that most high-rolling CEOS just don’t want to surrender. They tend to see it as an elegant way to wind down the week.
And with the return of the power lunch come the return of a high-end restaurant workforce, reflecting the city’s renewed vibrancy.
According to the New York City Department of Labor, employment at full-service restaurants is trending upward.
“While numbers are still down overall from pre-pandemic, they have absolutely bumped up from 2022 and 2021,” said Steven Picker, executive director of the Food & Beverage Industry Partnership, NYC Department of Small Business Services.
And while much of the real estate conversation has recently centered on empty office space, corporations are expecting a mass return of tony restaurants.
Executives have always had an appetite for fine food and wheeling-and-dealing over haute cuisine, and the bottom line is that CEOs of 2023 are no exception.
The power lunch is — and always will be — a vital and iconic function of this city, and a symbolic piece of New York’s identity.