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Lunching and Learning – Here’s How to Do It the Right Way

We’ve all experienced a classic Lunch and Learn at the office, whether that be for skills training, product training, professional or personal development. The catering might have gotten people in the door, but if you don’t follow through with a captivating and educational presentation that leaves attendees feeling curious, interested and maybe even charmed, you’re not doing it right. Here are three ways you can leverage your lunch and learn.

1. Engage Curiosity. Take it a step beyond just a PowerPoint presentation – provide an environment that encourages attendees to ask questions and engage with the presenter.Although everyone appreciates visuals, rolling through a deck in front of a group of people is bound to end in glazed-over looks and minimal engagement. Include eye-opening pictures, funny videos, thoughtful questions and interesting facts. Also consider introducing a hands-on activity or game to perpetuate conversation and creative thinking.

Psst… How boring does this presentation look?

2. Capitalize on Wellness. If there’s one thing most employees wish they could do more of, it’s spending more time outside, exercising or anything else that allows them to avoid being stuck in a chair for 8-10 hours a day. Host a monthly lunch and learn that encourages just that, personal wellness, be it an exercise class, friendly (or competitive) game or an activity that will get heart rates up. Better yet, host the meeting outside!

3. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Teaching employees something new can be mentally stimulating and a great energy boost, even if it’s not directly tied in to their day-today work. Consider a cooking class that focuses on food that maximizes your productivity, or a yoga class that teaches instant stress-relievers or even a gift-wrapping class during the holidays. 

Images courtesy of ThinkStock by Getty Images

How to Throw an Office Celebration

Whether you’re celebrating a baby on the way, tying the knot, finishing a marathon or recognizing another huge life accomplishment, supporting coworkers’ personal milestones will improve office morale and create a positive, encouraging environment.

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1. Location, location, location. Decide whether the occasion calls for a quick get together in the conference room or if your supervisor is willing to accommodate a long lunch catered in the office or at a nearby restaurant. Strategically matching the location with the occasion you’re celebrating will help make the most of everyone’s time while still recognizing an outstanding coworker.

2. Small, budget-friendly details. Decorate with an inexpensive tablecloth, fun-colored balloons, confetti or streamers and all of a sudden, you’ve got yourself the ingredients for a simple, but sweet party and more importantly, you’ve transformed your run-of-the-mill conference room into a budget-friendly party space.

3. Food always wins. Everybody loves a little pick-me-up, especially when it comes in the form of food or drink. When celebrating a milestone, providing a little sparkling cider, sweet treats or even a catered lunch gives employees time to socialize, congratulate the guest of honor in a relaxed setting and enjoy a delightful refreshment before going back to work.

4. Pool your money. For brides and grooms and moms and dads-to-be, collect $5-$10 from each member of your office to put toward a more expensive item on the honorees registry. They’ll appreciate the gesture and not get stuck with a hodgepodge of gifts they don’t need. 

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Three Rules of a Successful Office Catering

Extracted from the distinguished and ingenious mind of Moe’s CMO, Paul Macaluso:

1. If it’s a business pitch… Remember that you’re taking away someone’s lunch break— their one time to decompress in the middle of the work day. Find a way to make the meeting memorable by personalizing it in a way your potential new business will appreciate.

Helpful Tip: During the introductions, have everyone not just state their names, but also their favorite summer treat. Meanwhile, have someone on your team take notes and go pick-up these treats to distribute at the end of the meeting. That friends, is what we call surprise and delight.

2. If it’s a brainstorm session… Give everyone a chance to enjoy their meal before jumping into things. Lunch time is usually an ideal time for people to socialize, so let the group make small talk and get their mind off work for a little.

Helpful Tip:  Provide tools to stimulate brainstorming: Candy for a caffeine boost, knick knacks like stress balls, modeling clay and building blocks to play with and lots of writing materials – whiteboards, giant notepads, colorful pens, pencils and markers, etc. If necessary, leave the office and go somewhere that inspires creative thinking.

3. If it’s a client meeting… Take extra precautions: Make sure the catering is through a company you trust and have used before. They should arrive on-time, prepare and display the food in an appealing manner, not forget anything and most importantly, provide delicious food for you and your clients.

Helpful Tip: Be mindful of dietary restrictions and go the extra mile and call ahead of time to see if anyone attending the meeting is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or has food allergies. 

Photo credit: Thinkstock Photos by Getty Images

How to Master the Business Lunch

In the words of Esquire magazine’s Ross McCammon, “The business lunch exists so that two people may converse about business matters (which is a meeting), while doing something they had to do anyway (which is eating). It is formal, yet it is human. It is committal, yet it is noncommittal. It is awkward, yet it is tasty. The business lunch is a paradox.”

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1. Let the paradox begin. Whether it’s a secretary, assistant, right-hand man/woman, find out who is the gatekeeper to the person you want to talk to. But remember; be persistent and charming, but not annoying (and don’t worry, little bit of awkwardness is a pretty much given.

2. Doing something they had to do anyway. Everyone eats lunch (at least that we know of) and there are so many ways to use a lunch meeting stand out to an executive, but the most unique and memorable come from great research – Google and LinkedIn are a good start but asking people who work closely with them is even better.

3. Formal yet human. Pick a place that’s easy for the person you’re meeting with to get to. It’s helpful if you’ve been there before and have already gauged their service and how they treat their customers – you want them to exceed your expectations.

4. Converse about business matters. You may be there to pitch your business, but lunch is a time for socializing. Take 15 minutes to have an interesting conversation and be yourself. People want to talk to someone who is comfortable being around a potential new business partner and to verify that you and your business are still interesting. At the end of the day, you are creating a relationship, make it count.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock photos by Getty Images and Entrepreneur.com

Five Minor Ways You Can Spruce Up an Office Catering Without Breaking the Bank

1.     A Tablecloth

It doesn’t seem like much, but covering up that grimy, standard-issue table you’ll be using for the catering with a classic white or cheery colored table cloth (even if it’s just plastic) will take your catering to a more professional standard.

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 2.     Serving Dishes

Add a homemade touch by putting the food into elegant, but inexpensive serving dishes. The best part: if you keep a couple on hand, they can be washed and re-used for caterings time and time again.

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 3.     Flowers

A vibrant bouquet of flowers is just the right touch to bring some sunshine to your catering table. That little bit of extra effort is sure to have your catering guests more appreciative of the effort you put in (and then afterward, you’ll have some beautiful flowers for the office to enjoy).

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 4.     A Chalkboard Menu

Purchase an easel chalkboard or even hang a small one in a convenient location and write down what is being served so that catering attendees can get excited about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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 5.     Themed Decorations

If your catering is around of for a holiday or special event, liven things up with some small themed decorations such as a congratulatory banner or table confetti. Encourage employees to use this meal as a time to celebrate and enjoy great food while at the office. 

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Photo credit: Thinkstock Photos by Getty Images

Hosting a Lunch to Pitch Your Business? Know Your Audience.

Dress the part: If they’re suit wearing people, wear a suit.

Talk the talk: Familiarize yourself with industry acronyms and key players in their industry. Humor when presenting is always a welcome addition, but know your limits. (F-bomb, not so much – unless your audience is Sharon Osborne.)

Food for thought: Provide a catering option that meets the needs of a wide range of dietary preferences: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, etc.

Leave-Behinds & Take-Aways: If you want your audience to remember three things about your presentation what would they be? How can you represent those ideas in a unique and meaningful way? A jump drive or spiral bound power point will likely be thrown away or filed to never be seen again. How can you standout?

Always Be Closing: In addition to the obligatory “thank you for your time, here is a link to more info” email, wait three weeks and send a note in reference to something personal you gathered from your lunch meeting. Such as “I know you love dogs, thought you’d enjoy this silly YouTube video.” 

Photo credit: Thinkstock Photos by Getty Images

How to Throw a Killer Open House Grad Party

1.Timing is Everything

An open house style graduation party works best because it gives guests the opportunity to stop by at a time convenient for them and gives the graduate time to enjoy their presence and thank them for coming. Avoid planning a party for less than three hours. The most convenient time for most guests to attend is during the weekend between noon and 6 p.m., but be considerate: many graduates will be planning their parties on these same days at the same time.

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2. Get Everyone’s Game On 

Grandpa probably wouldn’t join a backyard volleyball game, so plan activities that all guests will enjoy, like croquet, bocce or even an exciting round of Catch Phrase, Balderdash or Charades. Better yet, pit grads against parents or — if there’s a common alma mater among the crowd — alums against non-alums. If you engage your guests, they’ll be more likely to stick around and enjoy the party.

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Grad-style Grub

The number one thing to keep in mind when deciding what delicious goodies you’ll be dishing out to your graduation party guests is convenience. All your food, or most of it, should be something fresh and fast that they can eat while sitting down, walking around your party or on the move to another grad’s get-together.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock Photos by Getty Images

DIY Post-It Pepper Piñata

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Materials

  • Post-Its in various colors of your choice OR colored paper of your choice, cut to a Post-It size
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Super Glue or a Glue Gun

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Step 1: Draw or trace two peppers onto your cardboard (one will be the front and one will be the back).

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Step 2: Cut out both peppers for the front and back of the piñata.

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Step 3: Cut long strips of cardboard 3”-5” wide to go around the perimeter of the piñata.  

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Step 4: Curl the strips of cardboard with your pencil so that they are more easily molded to the shape of the pepper.

Step 5: Glue the strips of 5” wide strips of cardboard to the first half of the pepper.

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Step 6: Glue the second half of the pepper to the border of the strips.

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Step 7: Begin applying Post-Its with your glue gun or super glue (NOTE: Using just the adhesive from the back of the Post-It is not enough to keep them attached to the piñata… We tried it, and the Post-Its flew off at the first hint of wind.) Have fun playing with different colors, creating an ombre effect or focusing on warm or cool colors.

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Step 8: Once the both sides of the piñata have been decorated with Post-Its, estimate where you want your string to hang from and punch two holes in the top of the piñata.

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Step 9: (This is the tricky step) Thread the string through the holes you created with some sort of needle, paperclip or push pin so that you can bring it back up through the second hole.

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Step 10: Cut a second hole in the top that’s large enough to stuff your favorite party favors: candy, toys or even booze (if you’re daring).

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Voila! You’ve got yourself an easy, do-it-yourself piñata—A perfect way to spice up your office Cinco de Mayo party or save a couple bucks for your at-home fiesta. 

The Truth About Cinco de Mayo

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Ladies and Gentlemen, it has come to our attention that Cinco de Mayo is believed (by many Americans and foreigners alike) to be Mexico’s Independence Day. This information is FALSE, but take no offense, we’re here to enlighten with you the true story of Cinco de Mayo.

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is NOT the celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day. El Grito de la Indepedencia (The Cry of Independence) is held each year on September 16 in honor of Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule in 1810.

Cinco de Mayo marks a Mexican holiday that has become more widely celebrated every year in the United States, many not knowing the reason for the festivities. The “Batalla de Puebla” (Battle of Puebla) or “Cinco de Mayo” (Fifth of May) commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862.

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Today, Cinco de Mayo is glorified in the United States with fiestas, Mexican food and lots of tequila (for some). According to UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, the holiday was actually invented in modern-day California in 1863 and has continued to be celebrated in the United States, but is almost completely ignored in Mexico. Only a few Mexican states, including Puebla, recognize it.[1]

Regardless, Cinco de Mayo continues to represent an occasion for Mexican-Americans (and anyone else who likes Mexican food and a good margarita) to celebrate their ancestors and show pride for their culture.

And at Moe’s we celebrate Cinco de Moe’s, which means Fifth of Moe’s. In other words… absolutely nothing. But we’re giving away a free side of the new spicy guacamole to every guest all the same, so feel free to join us.

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[1] UCLA Newsroom, Cinco de Mayo Observance Is Important Because It Provides a Collective Identity for Latinos, Says UCLA Center, http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Cinco-de-Mayo-Observance-Is-Important-7891.aspx (May 4, 2007)

Five Reasons Why Liking Spicy Foods Means You’re A Bad@$$

1. Because risk-takers like spicy food (it’s been proven by research).

According to research presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo, there’s a clear correlation between personality types and hot-spice preferences. In particular, the single personality trait of being a risk-taker was consistently associated with liking spicy foods. The study found that people who seek adventure and revel in intense sensations enjoy spicy foods more than those who evade risky situations.

2. Because eating spicy food can prevent cancer.

It turns out the capsaicin found in chili peppers has the ability to kill some cancer and leukemic cells. Additionally, the spice turmeric (found in curry powder and some mustards) may slow the spread of cancer and growth of tumors.

3. Because it helps you lose weight.

Good news folks, spicy foods can help speed up your metabolism, too! The same capsaicin found in chili peppers has a thermogenic effect causes the body to continue burning additional calories, even after you’ve finished your spicy meal.

4. Because you’re more relaxed, and less angry, when you spice it up.

Eating spicy foods increases the production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin. With these hormones in effect, you are less stressed and depressed.

5.      Because you’re healthier when you eat spicy foods.

Studies show that cultures that frequently eat spicy foods are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. Specifically, chili peppers can reduce the effect of poor cholesterol and capsaicin helps fight heart inflammation. Even better, Vitamins A and C strengthen your heart muscles and the heat from the pepper increases blow flow throughout your body.

Photo credit: Thinkstock Photos by Getty Images

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