Why Have 500 Lunches With Strangers?

Why have 500 lunches with strangers?

“I understand why people try to quickly get things out of people they meet but if you take that transactional approach to networking, your networking isn’t going to be successful.”

Nick Bendel


It all starts with an introduction and a simple question:-

“Hi… my name’s Nick. I’m in the process of having lunch with 500 strangers in five years. I was wondering, do you want to have lunch with me?”


This is a great story because whether Nick meets and/or has lunch with the people he approaches or he doesn’t, reflects the fact that Nick has become more proactive and taken control of his life. By going on this journey and meeting so many high value people, Nick has strengthened his mindset and is well underway in developing both a diverse network and his personal brand.


The first indication that Nick is one of those ‘boringly consistent’ high performing people is that regardless of the fact that he used to be terrified of public speaking, he now publishes a daily video called Nicks Marketing Tips and has built a system around it. Nick has always loved reading, writing and communication and, as someone who has built a business around living out his passion through his work, developing content every single day was an easy habit to commit to.


Related Post: Are You Born With Resilience? – Andrew Paton-Smith


Nick Bendel is the owner of Hunter & Scribe, a copywriting and content marketing agency that specialises in blogs, social media posts, emails, eBooks and media releases for small businesses. Starting his own company was a natural progression for a journalist with 10 years’ experience, having lunch with 500 strangers in five years is a bit unexpected.


So, why have 500 lunches with strangers?


When you learn that Nick has a narrow scope of food which he enjoys – think mashed potato and baked beans – the next obvious reason to commit to having #500lunches with strangers is to build a network full of amazing people but, this project runs deeper than that. Nick’s goal is to “just be a better person and learn valuable skills, which will hopefully translate into some sort of opportunity” although, he is not clear on what that opportunity will look like just yet. What he is working towards is to be a better communicator, have better social skills, be a better listener and develop valuable knowledge about human behaviour. What he hopes to achieve during this process is that people are getting the feeling that he is knowledgeable, trustworthy and genuine.  


Related Post: Leading in a World of Change – Sam Sooialo


The way Nick approaches this project is by taking one little step at a time because once you take one small step, that encourages you to take another. It is important to note that at 140 lunches so far, he is ahead of schedule.


There are rules, because naturally he has built a system around the project.

  1. Do not try to turn people into clients
  2. Meet a lot of people who could not be clients of Hunter & Scribe
  3. No double ups


Right about now you are probably wondering about the logistics and practicalities around exactly where and how Nick is finding these people, especially when you learn he has had lunch with a hostage negotiator. Then there is the added dynamic of social distancing during a pandemic.


We are glad you asked!


Click here for this week’s episode of The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast where we discuss exactly how networking and leadership go hand in hand and learn that even the most successful of people can feel intimidated when Nick initially extends an invitation to meet for lunch.


*** SPOILER ALERT *** – it is the season of giving so we are running our first giveaway thanks to our valued sponsors Jangler. Head over to TCoT to find out how you can enter…


"This post includes affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. You can check out our full Affiliate Disclosure here."