The last "breakfast meeting" I had was a complete disaster. This meeting was at the client's behest and he showed up 20 minutes late. The table we were sitting at was really pretty -- for a wedding. There was silverware everywhere, water glasses, juice glasses, beautifully folded napkins and a centerpiece with lovely flowers. Which meant there only enough room left over for maybe a box of TicTacs.
The client had eggs, bacon, sausage and any other meat product he could get his hands on. I had a demure bowl of oatmeal. I am of the school where a meeting like this is akin to a date. There should never be an opportunity for food to find its way to any other place than a mouth. This client clearly didn't get the memo. Plus, he really liked ketchup.
Folders were passed around during the meal. Two of them found their way on to plates. One found the ketchup. Using the cloth napkin (with his mouth full), the client chortled and said, "whoops," wiped it away and promptly put it, ketchup side down, back on his lap. Then, the client just kept talking with his mouth full. At one point (and I'll spare you too much detail), part of his meal ended up on my beautifully white Brooks Brothers dress shirt. Yes, ketchup was involved.
At that point, the client looked at his watch and just stood up. He had places to go, 30 minutes after being 20 minutes late. Plus, I ended up getting stiffed for the bill. After he and his posse ambled off, I sat in silence, at 7:50 in the morning wondering what the hell had just happened. I laughed with the server, tipped her well and walked out into the brilliant rain. Call it a perfectly sh***y day. Two weeks later, I decided that this probably wasn't the client for me. The breakfast meeting was the catalyst.
Whoever invented the "breakfast meeting" should be called out and banned from business for life. The morning coffee meeting? That's brilliant. In fact, that is my favorite kind of meeting. So please, feel free to schedule that any time.
But breakfast? No thanks. I think I'll pass on the bacon and eggs.