I’m not a fan of lunch meetings.
Most of the time, whatever business or practical items that needed to be discussed get knocked out in a few minutes. The rest is fluff, filled with sometimes awkward chit-chat, especially if the person you’re meeting with isn’t really a deep friend.
And the result of this is that a huge chunk, sometimes 90 minutes or longer when travel/etc. time is factored in, gets lost in the middle of the day. This contributes to the manic effort to jam working time into morning and afternoon hours, which for so many of us often overflows into the evenings anyway.
(In a sense, lunch meetings are one of the last formal-ish things on our calendar that have real start/end times, acting like a firewall in our day. It’s probably more accepted, for example, to not be checking your inbox during a lunch meeting than after hours.)
We take lunch meetings because they get us out of the office. Being in the office in many cases is as unproductive as the lunch meeting we’re taking to escape it in the first place.
The solution is to construct a career that avoids an office, if that office is more a place where people are coming together to feel like they’re doing something, when in reality it’s a place we’re all just looking to escape from.