How to Portland Lunch 2.0

While it used to be common knowledge around these parts, Portland Lunch 2.0 seems to have become a bit of an enigma. I can tell, because every time I start talking about it, folks are like “How do we even do a Portland Lunch 2.0?” Fair question. Let’s see if we can clear some of this up. For both attendees and hosts.

For attendees…

The good news? You’ve got it relatively easy. Although there is a little bit of work involved. But there’s a free lunch in it. So well worth it.

Want to be a Portland Lunch 2.0 attendee?

  1. Join the Portland Lunch 2.0 Meetup group, like 2000+ of your peers in our community.
  2. When you get a notice that there’s an upcoming lunch, RSVP.
  3. Show up at the venue on the appropriate day and at the scheduled time. (Honestly, the most important step. Otherwise, it gets weird.)
  4. Talk to interesting people or catch up with friends and acquaintances. Either works.
  5. Say something nice on social. Thank the host. Rave about the food. Tell your friends.
  6. Anxiously await the next Lunch 2.0.
  7. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Cool? Cool. Hope to grab lunch with you soon.

… and for would-be hosts

Well, it’s slightly more complicated. But it’s also likely more rewarding. So don’t let that intimidate you.

First and foremost, the obvious question: Why do you keep pushing Portland Lunch 2.0, Rick?

I’m an introvert. But not everyone is. And even for the introverted, I’m a firm believer that there’s something magical about gathering people around food. It’s something deep deep in our humanity. Breaking bread with others cause us to open up. And be more approachable. And make more lasting and meaningful connections.

I’m no anthropologist or sociologist or psychologist or whatever -ologist studies this kind of stuff. But I’ve seen it in practice and it works. And it works for Portland. So that’s why.

Besides, people gotta eat. Am I right or am I right?

Let’s start with a couple of qualifying questions:

  1. Do you have an office space or access to event space that can hold 50 or more people?
  2. Are you capable of ordering lunch?

Cool. If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, you are preeminently qualified to be a Portland Lunch 2.0 host. Congratulations! You should totally take advantage of this new status. Immediately.

What’s that? Why would you want to do that? Another fair question. Let’s answer that question with a bunch of other questions.

  1. Are you interested in your organization being a good steward of the Portland startup community and its continued success?
  2. Would you happen to be one of those many businesses that likes to hire people?
  3. Do you have some new office space that you’d like to showcase?
  4. Are you looking to raise the visibility of your company in Portland?
  5. Do you have an upcoming event or product release or announcement you’d like to promote?
  6. Are you looking to partner with a customer or client to celebrate your relationship?
  7. Are you just looking for an excuse to get together with some awesome folks from Portland?
  8. Do you find yourself or your organization suffering from the utterly charming yet still disconcerting Portland affliction of “aggressive humility”?

Excellent. If you answered “maybe” or “I don’t know” to even one of those questions, you really should consider hosting Lunch 2.0. Because any and all of those are good reason to engage with the community. Whether you’re really clear on those motivations or not.

Sort of sold? Other questions?

Yes, you can cap the number of people. So you’re not shelling out money to buy thousands of lunches. But we do ask that you are willing to make the number big enough to be interesting. In our experience, less than 50 people doesn’t seem to work very well.

No, you can’t charge people for the lunch or charge for attendance. If you’ve got space but can’t afford lunch, that’s the perfect opportunity to partner with another organization to cohost Portland Lunch 2.0. It’s like creating community in order to create community. So meta!

Yes, we do encourage folks to post to social media about the event. And the catered food. Not only do the people in attendance get more exposure for your company, but so do their networks and followers.

The ideal size? Probably around 250 or so. That provides the opportunity for a good chunk of the community to attend. And allows for a good flow of activity with both early attendees and late arrivals. Without paying an onerous tab for the whole meal.

If you don’t have a preferred caterer, we love Portland startup Spork Bytes. They can help ensure that you have a variety of menu items for every type of diet — allergies included. They partner with a ton of amazing restaurants around the region. And they handle all of the set up for you. Easy peasy.

Not interested in being the first one in the pool? Understandable. Take a gander at previous hosts. Or join CENTRL Office Eastside or Stoel Rives, who are already in for hosting Portland Lunch 2.0, this year.

Other questions? Please let me know and I’ll update the post.

So if this whole Lunch 2.0 thing is sounding more like something that would benefit your company, please indicate your interest in hosting Portland Lunch 2.0. I’m looking forward to grabbing lunch with you.