How to HobNob your way to the top

Struggling to convert meetings into business success? Why not try a different brand of biscuits...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The Holiday Inn has carried out the world’s first 'business biscuit survey' (who’d have thought this burning topic could have gone unnoticed for so long?) and uncovered some rather surprising biscuit opinions and prejudices in the business world. Of 1,000 professionals questioned, an astonishing 80% felt that the outcome of a meeting could be directly influenced by the range and quality of biscuits on offer – and the more sugary ones were clearly seen as being sweeter for business.

The chocolate biscuit was the stand-out favourite of indulgent business folk, with shortbread and HobNobs coming in second and third respectively. We’re worried that our highly-stressed business community is going against the healthy grain of our times: while fear of obesity has driven down sales of the chocolate biscuit in the general population (down 17% between 2001 and 2006), corporate types continue to munch on.

And that’s not the only area where business people seem to be flying in the face of popular opinion: a sizeable minority declared a prejudice against the mighty digestive. Despite its general popularity in the UK – 71% say it’s their biscuit of choice – a third of business people apparently frown upon it, objecting in particular to its ‘crumbly’ quality. (Forgive our cod psychology, but maybe it’s because they don’t want to be associated with crumbling in high-pressure meetings). The good news for its creator McVities is that although the digestive is not perceived to be good for business, business is certainly good for the digestive – sales were up 2.3% to £96m in 2007.

Interestingly, a clear pattern of biscuit etiquette also emerged, with HobNob snobs having a low opinion of dunking. There was also general agreement that the acceptable number of biscuits to take from a communal plate is two. Unlike in the eighties, greed clearly isn’t good.

So next time you need to seal a deal in the boardroom, forget the glitzy Powerpoint presentation, the broad array of relevant case studies and the extensive supply of hot and cold beverages – and spend your money stocking up on choccie biscuits instead.

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