Whether meeting with clients to present a proposal or conducting a working lunch with staff, sending an invitation by e-mail can be a fast and effective way of coordinating the event.
Consider your audience. The tone of your e-mail will need to adapt to whomever you are inviting to the lunch meeting. A casual tone works fine if your lunch meeting is with staff and you'll be spending the time discussing strategies and brainstorming. If the purpose of the meeting is more serious, you'll need to make this clear in your correspondence to invited staff members. If the lunch meeting is with clients, you may need a more formal tone, depending upon your working relationship with them.
Locate a restaurant that will be able to accommodate your group. Depending upon the number of invitees, you may want to seek a facility that has a private room available. When planning a lunch meeting with clients, it may help to find an eatery that is less hectic, where conversation won't be strained because of noise.
Decide whom to invite to the lunch meeting and consult the office calendar to determine if all parties will be available on the date in question. For staff lunch meetings, make a quick phone call to ask if the selected invitees will be available on that day and then ask them to keep it open while plans are being finalised.
Call the restaurant of choice and set up a tentative reservation. Let them know that you may need to adjust the number of attendees closer to that date. If you discover you'll have several more attending than originally planned, make sure to notify the restaurant as soon as possible so that the staff can accommodate your needs.
Compose your e-mail, including the email addresses of each person you wish to invite. Use the subject line to state the reason for the email. Include words like "Important" or "Mark Your Calendars," and include the date, and reason. For example, your subject might read: "Important: Working Lunch on 2/18/09-RSVP Needed." For lunch with a client, of course, you'll need to finesse the subject line and turn it in to a request, rather than a demand.
Use the body of the email to explain the necessity of the lunch meeting and what you would like participants to bring or share during the meeting. Depending on how hard it is to pin people down, you may want to require that they RSVP, so you can finalise the reservation count with the restaurant. If you're setting up a client lunch, you may want to request a lunch meeting, and state what items you would like to discuss with them
You approach should be based on your company's working atmosphere, from casual to formal. Send a copy to administrative personnel so that the office calendar can be updated.