There are many different kinds of breakfast. There is the grab and go (which I am most accustomed to.) Though it is isn’t the fanciest it does have some appeal in that you can do it mid-commute whether you are on a train, walking or driving (however the chances of spills go up a notch here as does your ability to text at the same time.) There is the sit-down but finish as quickly as possible because you really don’t have time for this but then you can tell people you have a sit-down breakfast breakfast. Then there is the complete breakfast from the cereal commercials of year past which in addition to a giant bowl of cereal included eggs, a large slab of meat, orange juice, milk, a cup of coffee, a cartoon mascot and usually a rooster near the window because clearly to eat that much you were about to go work on a farm all day.
But perhaps the greatest of all the breakfasts is the Power Breakfast. But how did the power breakfast come to be? Well, the term breakfast wasn’t invented until the 15th century and I imagine it being proceeded by the word “power” came about around the same time as the power suit and power walking which all belonged to the amazing decade that was the 1980s. So I am thinking it was somewhere in that timespan? Actually after some research it turns out that the term was invented by Preston Robert Tisch, co-founder of Loews hotel chain and chairman of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau in the 1970s.
The first power breakfast
When he and other business leaders were trying to prevent Manhattan from going bankrupt, they started meeting in the dining room of the Loews Regency hotel to discuss the issues (his smart suggestion of course.) Soon it became the go-to place for morning breakfast meetings for the business elite of New York. “We’ll talk and figure this out,” New York restaurant consultant Clark Wolf told Eater. “It was a very effective word of mouth campaign to get New York going in the right direction again. People table hopped like crazy.” It was a networking epicenter with some of the most important business deals coming to fruition…with bacon on the side.
Networking with coffee
Though it may have started at the Loews Regency, the power breakfast quickly caught on and a number of other famous hotels entered the race including the Knickerbocker Hotel, the very glamorous Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel and The Four Seasons. Smaller, hip hotels have joined the pack too with their own spin on things including The Ace Hotel, The Nomad, and restaurants The Breslin and Mercer Kitchen to name a few. These crowds consist more of young, hip tech entrepreneurs, the fashion crowd and influencers.
Perhaps it is something about the morning that just signifies productivity. In 2014 London Breakfast Meetings Week (LBMW) surveyed more than 100 employees who had attended at least one breakfast meeting in the past two years and found that 71% agreed or strongly agreed that breakfast meetings are much more productive than later in the day. Sixty-five percent said they found it easier to concentrate at morning meetings and three quarters said a short breakfast meeting was less disruptive to their day. Plus 72% of the surveyed said they were more alert and enthusiastic at breakfast meetings.
Power breakfasts are the annoyingly perky, morning-person older sibling of brunch (AKA your drunk, lazy brother.) CNN Money even declared that power breakfasts the new power lunch (also who even has time for lunch anymore?) Morra Aarons-Mele, owner of the digital agency Women Online and author of “Hiding in the Bathroom: How to Get Out There When You’d Rather Stay Home,” told CNN they are just so much more time effective than lunch or drinks as you can do them even before you sit down to work. “You know like starting your day with sun salutations [in yoga]? It’s like that,” she says. “I leave breakfast with a spring in my step. A breakfast that’s a good networking opportunity or a good catch-up makes me feel like I’m part of a community, makes me feel more confident and also inspired.” No one has ever said that about a glass of pinot grigio after work.
The Plaza’s Palm Court legendary power breakfast
I decided to test out the theory by having a power breakfast with a friend that also doubled as a meeting because she is a publicist that I work with on projects. We chose the most glamorous of all the power breakfasts at the legendary Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel. A big component of the power breakfast is to be sitting in an absolutely beautiful place while talking shop (which we did in between fawning over our meals and Instagramming everything) and that is certainly The Palm Court.
It was once said, “Nothing unimportant ever happens at The Plaza,” so clearly there have been many an important power breakfast there. And how could you not be inspired looking at that gorgeous room where Truman Capote used to hold his famous Black and White ball (ok that was in the grand ballroom but same vicinity.) Renovated in 2014 by Master Architect Thierry Despont he wanted you to feel like you were in Central Park but indoors (so best of both worlds really) with its potted plants, ceiling-high palm trees, trellis detailing, giving it a glamorous yet almost open-air ambiance. Plus is there any place more classic New York than The Plaza?
Power breakfasts for the win
Now Kevin McAllister may have been all about ordering out for a cheese pizza at the Plaza, but he was missing out as the breakfast menu at The Palm Court (served Mon-Fri 6:30am – 11:00 am, and Sat-Sun 7:00 am – 11:00 am) as it would equip anyone to feel like they could take on the world. It was so hard to choose between the The Plaza Eggs Benedict, Steak and Eggs, Brioche French Toast or the Hudson Valley Oak Smoked Salmon but I ended up choosing The New Yorker (two organic farm eggs any style, choice of meat, choice of toast) because it just screamed power. Combined with my cup of coffee in the loveliest monogrammed china cup, plus a fresh cup of orange juice, I was in the most jovial mood and once I channeled my inner Bette Midler in Big Business I got a lot of important talking points accomplished.
I also wasn’t hungry three hours later which is often the case after I eat the half Luna bar that I find at the bottom of my purse. For once, I was satiated. A morning workout can also inspire this kind of energy but that feeling only lasts for a few hours and then I am quite tired. The power breakfast may just be the answer to a really productive day. After a quick nod to the legendary Eloise painting nearby I was ready to take on the world. After all, according to Eloise, being bored is not allowed.
Now you probably don’t have time for a power breakfast everyday, but do consider working it into the rotation when you can. It’s a real game changer.