If you're in the agency business, nobody has to tell you that RFPs (Requests for Proposals) are a terrible way to choose an agency. If you're a client, they might be an efficient method to get a shallow view of a lot of agencies quickly, but they won't give a client the deeply thoughtful responses needed to address specific marketing challenges. Most agencies are resigned to the fact that RFPs are simply a way of life and as such bite their tongue, put their response in the required 12pt font format, and fire them off by the dozens. (Hundreds?) The more shots fired the more likely one is to land. Usually without much expectation of getting the project and even less connection to the project if they do. There are entire teams dedicated specifically to this process in mid-sized agencies and above. Some get very good at producing RFP responses, often becoming better at that, than actually doing the work. So just because an agency submits doesn't mean they are enthusiastic about your project. They are likely playing a numbers game, because they all have to.

This isn't how we roll. 

In regards to RFPs, we've won some. We've lost some. That's how it goes. We typically have only answered 2-3 a year at best. But I've never left a single RFP-process that couldn't be improved upon by simply having lunch with the potential client instead. My team shines in person and exudes enthusiasm for what we do. They convey a deep and broad set of experiences that feels too self-centered put to print. Tough topics could be discussed over a slice, and opportunities explored over coffee, in less time required to read a 72 slide capabilities deck. This in-person fit-check would also help both sides determine the chemistry of the collaboration and is a great opportunity for extreme candor. When across the table in front of a burrito, we can't duck a tough question, and a client can be really blunt about what they need. It's a win-win. 

So starting in January, to any RFP we were sent — we have been sending back an RFL, or a Request For Lunch. (Check out an example, here.) If a company wants an agency that excels at answering RFPs above all else, there are a lot of those out there. Be our guest and choose one of those paper tigers. But if you prefer good food and great conversation? Well, be our guest. Besides, we’re always hungry and if it goes well we just might fill out that RFP.

Here are a few of our favorite lunch places.


Father's Office. The OG location in Santa Monica is best. Imagine sneaking into the den of your dad when he was at the peak of his powers. Sugarfish. Upscale. Fixed menu. But relatable and fun at the same time. Playa Provisions. Great fair for lunch, brekky, and drinky. They have a whiskey bar, an ice cream bar, and a great menu. Close to the water and near the airport. All'Antico Vinaiola. Get your Italian deli fix straight from the boot. Sit sidewalk side and count the celebrities that walk by in Abbot Kinney. Loqui. A fun little taco stand with communal seating. Two locations. Great mushroom tacos, full cal full sugar coke, and beer/wine for you fancy folks. Simmzy's. One of the original LA gastropubs, with a legendary burger, many fine beers on tap and stumbling distance to the Manhattan Beach ocean for a gorgeous "gotta walk off this fully belly" sand stroll. If that sounds good but you can't leave the LAX-area, we'll meet you at the LAX Location of In-n-Out Burger. Never a bad choice for visiting east-coasters.


Pizzeria Bianco. Sure, LA has one now — but come to the original in Historic Downtown Phoenix and taste the best Neopolitan style pizza in the country for yourself. Cornish Pasty Chill vibe, but dark and moody. The handheld dough purses are filled with a variety of tastes. Perfect for convos during the summer. Great beer selection. Postinos Annex. Our favorite wine bar Postinos is spreading throughout the country, but experience it where it all started and we can talk over their bruschetta boards (see above). Perfect Pear Bistro. Doesn't have to try too hard to be one of the best little shops around. (That's why we like it.) Best grilled cheese, sweet potato fries and soups for when the temperature dips below 85. The Yard. Fun vibe, backyard games to play, a stage for live music and an eclectic mix of food and solid drinks. The Chuckbox. An ASU staple, that has somehow survived and we'd be glad to show you around those burgers. And you can't come to Phoenix without sampling Tacos Chiwas. A family-run Chihuahua style restaurant with bomb desherbrada.