Michon Ellis, CEO of Chicago's integrative marketing agency LimeGreen, had a morning meeting with some important clients. But instead of making dinner reservations at a Michelin-starred restaurant like Alinea, he planned to meet them for a power breakfast at the East Bank Club where Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jennifer Hudson, former Chicago Bear Otis Wilson and Oprah Winfrey reportedly work out over multitasking breakfast sessions. Ellis is one of many busy CEOs who prefer the power breakfast, a short concise breakfast meeting in a setting that is often frequented by high-profile professionals, usually cheaper than dinner and lunch, and always good for brainstorming. "The power breakfast is the most effective meal because attendees bring a fresh perspective to the table," says Ellis whose clients include McDonalds, Wrigley, Dell, and Toyota. "By lunchtime, you have the work day on your mind so it's difficult to focus. At dinner, you're worn out from the day. For breakfast, both parties are fresh, energized and willing to make a deal."
Fred Yassini, general manager of the East Bank Club Grill estimates that breakfast meetings have jumped 30 percent in just the last year, with some ordering full breakfasts and others talking over smoothies and a coffee. "We've seen more morning meetings here in the Grill over the past year than ever before"
Though Mad Men's martini-soaked power lunches and glitzy dinners might recall a bit of midcentury glam, they leave a distinct 21st century hangover. But today's power meal breakfasts are often served in hotel restaurants to give time-short and airport-tethered visitors the advantage. Daymond John, CEO & Founder of FUBU is a fan and frequents Loews Regency Hotel himself. "I prefer the early power breakfast to the three martini lunch, a ritual not always conducive to decision-making. Breakfast meetings are concise, direct and put people at ease while also having the ability to fuel creativity," he says from his New York City office. "The ideas discussed are taken directly to the office and often executed immediately, as they are the first thing on your mind."
Well, that and maybe where to go for lunch.