Having been in the market for 17 years, Lunch Actually – a dating agency – boasts having highly compatible and a quality list of single people waiting to be paired up. And all of which is done with complete privacy.
We speak to Violet Lim, its co-founder and CEO, to find out more about Lunch Actually.
How did Lunch Actually come about?
I started Lunch Actually with my then-boyfriend-now-husband Jamie Lee in 2004. At the time, I noticed many of my colleagues were single and not dating. It was rather puzzling for me as they were attractive and eligible people; I realised that it is because they were working really long hours, they were virtually married to their jobs.
When I came across the concept of lunch dating, I was immediately attracted to the idea because I felt that lunch was ‘short, sweet and simple’ – it is long enough for you to get to know someone, yet it was not too long that it would become awkward. Having always been passionate about helping others, I decided to quit my job and start a new career as a modern-day matchmaker.
We have a well-tested and well-proven matching algorithm that has created many happy unions and our service has a high satisfaction rate among tens of thousands of clients. Other than just being a platform for singles to meet, we also provide date coaching and image coaching services to help suitors increase their success rate. Now, Lunch Actually is the first and biggest Asia’s premier lunch dating company.
Talk us through the process of getting a date via the agency.
First, we will invite potential clients to our office (or now, virtually) to have a chat with our dating consultant. Here, we will find out more about their profile and preferences. After that, should we have suitable candidates for them, we will offer them a membership package. We will also do some ID and background check.
Based on their profile and preferences as well as our dating consultant’s assessment, we will proceed to find their first match. Each and every match is handpicked by our well-trained dating consultant. After a match is found, we will contact both parties to share with them the details of the match. Once the match is approved by both parties, we will proceed to arrange the date, book the restaurant, finalise the arrangement. All they need to do is to turn up at the restaurant and enjoy their date. After the date, we will contact both parties again to get their feedback. Based on their feedback, we will fine-tune the dating criteria to find them their next match. Though, since the pandemic, we also offer the option of virtual dates for our clients – where they can meet and get to know their matches safely through Zoom.
We do not have a fixed membership package because it depends on each client’s profile and preferences. However, we can share that our dating packages start from RM2,000 upwards.
What are some of the main criteria individuals look for in a partner?
In terms of personality, the first thing about women that would be attractive to men is kind-heartedness. And for women, they like men who are confident.
Do you cater towards the LGBT community?
Not at the moment; so far we’ve only focused, and I would say specialised in heteronormative matchmaking.
What’s the worst, and best case scenario from using a dating agency?
The best case scenario is of course, if you meet your match and chemistry and connection happens immediately. One of our very first successful couples is actually like that; they met and described to us that it was like a house on fire because they hit it off immediately – despite them having very different interests and occupations; they’re married with kids now!
Though most cases don’t happen that way because it takes time for someone to get to know their match. Many singles go into their first date thinking they would meet their future husband/wife right away, and if they don’t feel the instant attraction, they may be disappointed. Thus, I always say that matchmaking is not an easy industry because we’re dealing with people’s emotions and we can’t predict or create chemistry.
What we can do is always encourage and educate our clients that they should go into each date with an open mind, and not give themselves too much pressure that it’s going to be their future partner right away. Instead, think of it as meeting a new friend and enjoying the time to get to know each other. If you feel neutral and ok about your match, arrange for a second and third date to explore further, and from there, connection and attraction will grow.
How does Lunch Actually standout from other dating agencies or apps?
Unlike many local matchmakers who are often a one-man or one-woman service, Lunch Actually to-date has a presence in five countries, 80+ full-time associates and 17 years of matchmaking experience – making us the one of the oldest dating services in Asia, with a proven success record.
We have a well-tested and well-proven matching algorithm that has created many happy unions, and our service has a high satisfaction rate among our tens of thousands of clients. Other than just being a platform for singles to meet, we also provide date coaching and image coaching services to help our clients double their success rate. So far, we have arranged over 150,000 first dates and created 4,500+ successful couples (and counting!) And in Singapore, we are also accredited by SDN and Casetrust and I was actually the first Asian to be certified by the Matchmaking Institute in New York.
Online dating may be convenient, but it can be frustrating at times because you never know whether the other person you’re talking to online is really the person they claim to be. With Lunch Actually which is a completely offline service, clients can feel safe and secure because we meet and screen each member in person and verify their identities before we sign them up and send them on dates. We also help in handpicking the most suitable match for each client so you don’t waste a lot of time and effort screening through unsuitable matches like you would in other online dating services.
One of the reasons why many singles like Lunch Actually is because they can enjoy privacy and confidentiality. Other than their dating consultant and their date, nobody needs to know that they have signed up for a dating service. On the other hand, with online matchmaking sites, often you have to put up your photo and profile for all to see.