10 August 2008
Anne-Marie Cussen, a psychology postgraduate who had done her thesis on alternative dating methods, was looking for something different to do when she spotted an ad in The Sunday Business Post.
It was offering the franchise opportunity for an Irish branch of US specialized dating agency It’s Just Lunch (IJL). Now, she is celebrating her first year at the helm of the Irish venture.
IJL, which markets itself as a ‘‘first date’’ specialist for professionals between the ages of 20 and 60, was launched here in May 2007.
It has arranged almost 5,000 first dates in its first year of business. About 50 per cent of its clients have gone on to have second dates and some have been together for more than a year.
‘‘A lot of our clients are people at a senior level in business who are not in a position to date colleagues or clients,” said Cussen. ‘‘We take what we do very seriously and spend a lot of time establishing exactly what people are looking for.”
The first meeting with potential clients is, according to Cussen, a two-way process - as it would be in a business venture. ‘‘They must decide if they want to use our services and we must decide if we want to have them as a client.”
IJL conducts an in-depth interview with the client to build a detailed personal profile, and identify their requirements and preferences. They also verify all clients’ identity and ages through their driving license or passports.
A fee of €799 guarantees 14 introductions in the following 12-month period. If you meet someone you like early on, you can put your remaining introductions on hold for up to one year.
Based on the person’s profile and preferences, the company matches people who appear suited. It also organizes the time and place of the meetings - and if lunchtime doesn’t suit, alternatives such as drinks after work can be arranged.
Although IJL does not exchange clients’ full names or contact details, the person they are meeting will be given some details. These include age, height, eye and hair color, profession and information about their interests and hobbies. After the first meeting, the couple can then decide if they want to exchange personal contact details.
IJL is based in Dublin but has satellite locations in Cork, Galway and Belfast. For more details, visit www.itsjustlunchireland.com.