Lunch is an excellent opportunity to stay in touch with others, make new friends, take a break with a co-worker, celebrate a birthday, and meet with business contacts.
Below is everything you need to know about saying thank you for lunch. In addition, there are plenty of example messages to help you express your gratitude and appreciation for the lunch.
Does every lunch situation require a thank you note?
Only sometimes. In the situations below where I recommend not writing a thank-you note; however, you can still send a thank-you note if you want to.
These are the guidelines I follow. Of course, you should do what you feel is right for you and your situation.
The reoccurring casual lunch with a friend: NO
My friend Alice and I take turns buying each other lunch almost every week (before the pandemic). We are not writing thank you notes to each other for this each week. That would be too many, and they would lose meaning since we have weekly lunches.
A thank-you note is optional for a casual lunch with a friend when friends alternate treating each other. However, you can still send a thank you note if you feel inclined!
A co-worker buys your lunch: Maybe, it’s your boss
What a lovely gesture! This could be an unexpected surprise or planned. Perhaps, the co-worker is taking you to lunch to thank you for something you helped them with. A thank you note is optional, however, it would take little effort to write them a quick thank you email.
Sometimes, my boss takes my entire team to lunch. The company is picking up the tab. He had to organize it and take time for lunch with the team. So I recommend thanking the boss for the team lunch.
You may also read: Writing your boss a thank you note for lunch, which covers the when, why, and how to thank the boss. And a few tips too!
Lunch with a mentor: YES
The first time you have lunch with a mentor, I recommend writing them a thank you note. This will let the person know you sincerely appreciate the help and advice they are giving you. It will also help emphasize the importance of your relationship with them. They took time out of their day to meet with you!
Dan Miller’s book 48 Days to the Work You Love includes one task on each of the 48 days. For example, step 47 is to have lunch with a millionaire. While picking up the lunch tab, you should still thank them for their advice and time in a follow-up thank-you note.
Birthday Lunch: Yes
Birthdays are special. Following up with a thank-you note is a beautiful way to recognize your birthday celebration.
If you feel your relationship with whoever took you out is too casual for a handwritten thank-you note, I recommend a thank-you text message.
Lunch Treat: Yes
A lunch treat is when someone else pays for your lunch. Perhaps, someone surprised you when
Did someone surprise you by taking you out for lunch? Did the lunch treat make your day? Respond by sending the person a thank-you note. It may surprise them!
Thank You For Lunch Note Template
The contents of most thank-you notes are similar. You can use this template and the example messages below to help with wording your thank you for lunch message.
Note: Words in [brackets] must be updated for your situation.
Dear [Person’s Name],
Thank you for taking me to lunch at [place]. I love the [favorite dish] and enjoy spending time with you. [sentence or two with a compliment or something else you liked about lunch].
- Include a compliment about the food, place, or person.
- Make your note as specific as possible to make it better.
- If the lunch was for an event, you can add that event before the word birthday, such as birthday lunch.
- Read more info about how to write thank-you notes.
The examples below are the center section of the thank you note only. If you are handwriting or emailing your message, include the opening (Dear) and closing (Thanks again), and sign your name.
Thank You for Lunch Message Examples
These examples of thank you for lunch messages can be sent in a handwritten thank you note card, an email, or a text message.
#1 Thank you for taking me to lunch at [restaurant name]. Your recommendation was perfect, as the chicken sandwiches were delicious. I am grateful for our friendship, and we had fun at lunch. It was a nice treat for me, and it made my day.
#2 I was very surprised that you took me to lunch! I enjoyed helping you at work and didn’t expect this. I appreciate the recognition, and I liked getting to know you a bit better during lunch.
#3 Thank you for agreeing to have lunch with me. I am grateful for your advice on [mentoring topic]. I could also relate to your story about how you get started with [mentoring topic].
#4 I learned a great deal about [mentoring topic] at lunch last week. I appreciate the time you took out of your day to meet with me. I’ve already begun to take action on your advice. I will send you a follow-up in a couple of weeks describing the results I’ve seen.
#5 Thank you for the lunch treat! [Restaurant name] is one of my favorites. I had a nice time catching up with you as well. We should do this more often.
#6 Thanks for lunch! I had a wonderful time chatting. I was excited to learn that we both love [shared interest]. I will treat you to lunch next time, and we can continue our discussion.
#7 Thanks for treating me to lunch. That was a welcome surprise. My budget has been tight lately, and I love going out to eat. I had an excellent time and look forward to seeing you again soon.
#8 Thank you for lunch. The London Broil was a nice treat! I also enjoyed hearing about what has been going on in your life lately. We should catch up more often. Let’s plan to have lunch at least once a month from now on.
#9 Lunch was fantastic! Thank you for treating me. That was a pleasant surprise. I also enjoyed visiting and hearing about your job and family.
#10 Thank you, my dear good friend, for having lunch with me yesterday. I enjoyed visiting and will always say yes to [Restaurant name].
Thank You for the Birthday Lunch
Note: If you received a gift at lunch, you may also want to review the thank you for the birthday gift example messages.
#1 I love our birthday lunch tradition! Thank you for taking me to [restaurant name] for my birthday lunch this year.
#2 Thank you for the birthday lunch. I look forward to it each year. I was surprised that you took me to [restaurant name]! It’s so fancy! I loved every minute of it, and the bacon-wrapped scallops were superb.
#3 Thank you for taking me out to lunch for my birthday. I enjoyed visiting with you and hearing more about [topic]. You are great at finding new places for lunch too. I appreciate the amount of planning you do to make my birthday lunch feel special.
#4 I look forward to my birthday meal with you every year! Last week’s lunch celebrating this year’s birthday was fantastic. I love getting together with you and others. Thanks for organizing it. The [favorite dish] was the best too!
#5 Thanks for having me over to your house for my birthday. The homemade meal [say what it was in your note] was perfect for me. I am grateful to you for spending so much time to make me a wonderful lunch. You are a great friend.
#6 I had a fun time at my birthday lunch! Thank you for hosting it at [restaurant name]. It was a wonderful experience and an expected surprise. Thank you for being a great friend!
Thank You Message for Lunch at Someone’s Home
The examples in this section will help write a thank you message for lunch and hospitality. For example, being invited to someone’s home for lunch is thoughtful gesture. You can mention a compliment of their home or food in your message.
#1 Thank you for the delicious lunch today. It was an excellent meal, and I appreciate being invited to your house. Your deck is fantastic, and sitting outside made a wonderful afternoon.
#2 Thank you for the amazing food for lunch last week. You’re a great cook, and eating your food is a joy. I also love the relaxing atmosphere of your home.
#3 Thank you for having me over for another fabulous lunch. The angel food cake for dessert was a delight with the fresh strawberries.
#4 I had a wonderful time at your home last Saturday. Having my family over for lunch was a thoughtful gesture. The kids had a blast with your kids, and we all loved the homemade mac and cheese.
#5 Thank you for hosting lunch yesterday. We loved all the good food, and the steaks were the best! We enjoyed visiting and catching up as well. And your view of the mountains is fantastic!
#6 My mom and I had a wonderful time at your beautiful lunch today. We enjoyed meeting the other guests. Your backyard is perfect for events and you’re an excellent host. The catering from [Restaurant Name] was fantastic. The taco bar was out of this world!
Thank You for the Lunch Invitation
Notes: If you reply to a lunch invite before the lunch, please feel free to use the examples below to help you with wording to accept or decline the lunch invitation. If you write your thank-you note after lunch, you could include “thank you for inviting me” in the examples above. Or review the thanks for inviting me templates.
#1 Thank you for inviting me to lunch on Saturday. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because I have a previous commitment (up to you if you want to tell them what it is). Can we reschedule for the last Saturday in June?
#2 Thank you for the invitation to lunch. I am sorry we can’t make it because we have a wedding that day. I hope you have a wonderful time with the others that can make it.
#3 I will be able to meet you for lunch on Friday. Thank you for inviting me. I look forward to going to [restaurant name] and catching up with you.
#4 I am excited about lunch on Wednesday. Thanks so much for inviting me. See you then!
#5 Thank you for the lunch invitation. I was surprised and delighted to receive it. I will see you at [place], my new favorite restaurant, on Friday.
#6 Thank you very much for the invitation to lunch next week. I’m so grateful that you have time for me in your busy schedule. I look forward to seeing you at [Restaurant Name]. I love their seafood menu. See you there!