IF A company asks you to attend a business lunch held on its office premises, do not turn your nose up at the invitation.
For all you know, the food served might well be from the kitchen of top-notch restaurant Saint Pierre - and the venue could be a well-appointed function room with a dazzling skyline view.
This, at least, is the case at Standard Chartered Bank, which regularly engages Saint Pierre to cater lunches at its offices in Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC).
The French restaurant, located in Magazine Road in the Clarke Quay area, is a perennial favourite of many firms holding business lunches. It has now diversified into catering, delivering its gourmet offerings to the doorsteps of its clients.
The main food preparations are done in the restaurant's kitchen and finished up in the office pantry of the client. Quality is assured, the restaurant insists.
This move reflects a growing trend by firms here to hold their corporate lunches in-house, and to do so with panache.
'Our engagement with Saint Pierre is probably, on average, at least twice a day,' says Mr Harry Littlewood, senior manager at Standard Chartered Bank's corporate real estate services.
One key factor behind the in-house dining trend is that many companies are eager to show off their gleaming new corporate homes in buildings such as MBFC and One Raffles Quay - along with their knockout views.
Swiss banking giant UBS is another company that has taken to holding client lunches on its premises, which boast an auditorium seating more than 100, a lounge and six dining rooms.
Chief operating officer of UBS Singapore Teo Lay Sie says: 'We have been hosting exclusive lunches and dinners as well as larger cocktail events at our office since we moved our Singapore headquarters to One Raffles Quay in 2007. Our guests appreciate the privacy while enjoying unparalleled city views.'
For UBS, client hospitality events are usually held on levels 49 and 50 of its One Raffles Quay offices, which offer a commanding view of Marina Bay.
But while showing off the views may be one incentive for in-house dining, what is more important is giving the lunch guests a feel of the company's distinctive personality by taking them through the office premises.
As UBS deputy head of corporate communications Rachel Lin puts it: '(It) showcases your office. This is who we are, this is our commitment.'
Japanese investment banking firm Nomura, which is relocating to MBFC in May, is another company jumping on the eat-in bandwagon.
With its new office overlooking Marina Bay and the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, clients who accept an in-house dining invitation can expect a spectacular view, along with a sumptuous meal.
Convenience is another reason cited by companies for holding business lunches on their premises. For the host company, there is no journey through traffic to a lunch destination, and the food is ready to go on the spot.
As for how much it costs to cater such lunches, both the caterers and clients are tight-lipped. However, a smaller company looking to entertain in-house should expect to pay more per head, as economies of scale would be lacking.
But for bigger operations such as UBS, the relatively high cost is seen as well worth it. UBS' Ms Lin says: 'As this is an important part of the client experience, it is a cost we are prepared to bear.'