Always held on a Friday, each lunch is completely individual and with no expense spared. Design, digital and sport have grown to attract just over 250 guests whilst Stodge Podge (held in the heart of Manchester) and our newest event - Music Podge - are at around 150 guests (a number that is determined by the capacity of the venues, not by their potential). For each event, different and high-profile creative agency takes the challenge to put their creative stamp on a Podge lunch and be bigger and bolder than the agency before them. The work is always excellent, and always done pro-bono and the idea extends from the website right through to every aspect of the venue on the day.
Although everyone who attends a Podge lunch wants to be on the guest list the following year, we try to ensure that each event has at least 50% new attendees. Over 25 years of Design Podge, 17 years of Digital Podge, 14 years of Sports Podge, 10 years of Stodge Podge and 2 years of Music Podge there are at least three or four times as many people who want to attend as there are spaces available. And there is always a waiting list.
There are some things the lunches don't have. There are no auctions, commercial speeches or awards. They're never stuffy, or formal. People actually want to stay until the end. And unlike many other events, people can't buy a table, they can only buy a place at the lunch and only if they have been invited. They don't even get to choose who they sit next to (apart from sponsors that is). The seating plan is put together by hand, to enure the best connections are made.
We do everything we can to make the Podge lunches work really hard for our partners, many of whom have been with us for a long time. Knowing them well they inevitably become friends. At that level, we get to know them well and can help make valuable connections and have fun at the same time.