Former Apprentice star urges firms to bring back the lunch hour

The average lunch break is now just 28 minutes and only 17% of British workers take around one hour for lunch, according to online research from Mastercard and Ipsos MORI.

A hardcore one in eight of workers (12%) never or hardly ever take a lunch break.

Two thirds of workers who take a break (66%) eat their lunch at their workplace. Those working in offices are among the worst offenders – 70% don’t eat out of work.


Margaret Mountford, businesswoman, lawyer and star of The Apprentice is backing Mastercard’s research and said: “Throughout my career in so many different workplaces I’ve seen employees hunched over their desks wolfing down a sandwich. It makes workers less productive, hampers creativity and numerous studies have shown it’s bad for health, so why do we still do it? Bosses should lead the way by encouraging a culture of lunch breaks –it will boost productivity, creativity and morale as workers feel better and take on the afternoon revitalised. It’s time to stamp out the culture of not taking a lunch hour.”

Around 3 in 5 (62%) bring a packed lunch and 36% say they never eat out at pubs or restaurants for lunch during the working week. Of those who do this less than once a week, 42% say it is because they don’t have the time.

Scott Abrahams, Mastercard said: “We want the workers of Britain to sit down for a proper lunch. New technology means it’s never been easier to get out and have a good meal during your lunch hour – with our Qkr app diners can save 12 minutes by paying the bill on their smartphone. Research shows getting out of the office for lunch is good for health and productivity, so it’s time more of us took a break.”

Qkr with Masterpass, an order-ahead mobile app from Mastercard, saves diners on average 12 minutes, as they can pay the bill from their smartphone. They can also split the tab, order items and add a tip.


For more information, contact:

Emma Fahy, +44 7580 790 297

Adam Keal, +44 7710 916 144

Research was undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Mastercard’s Qkr! app using its online I:Omnibus. The research took place in August 2016. From a nationally representative quota sample of 2,155 British adults aged 16-75, questions on lunch break behaviours were filtered to 1,387 working adults. Data have been weighted by age, gender, region, working status and social grade to the known offline population profile. Of the 1,387 working adults interviewed, 1,335 reported that they take a lunch break while at work.