Danny Meyer, Setting the Table
I just finished reading Danny Meyers new book, Setting the Table. For anyone who is in the business world, it is worth the read.
Danny writes about his childhood, growing up in St. Louis, the traveling he did, the art world that he was exposed to, the successes and failures of his parents and grandparents businesses, and his love of food. He sets the stage by giving you insight into why hospitality is such an important factor in the success of his business.
It was also really fun to read about him starting out in the business. I came to NYC too during the mid-80’s and frequented a variety of the same places that he talks about in the book. I enjoyed the nostalgia.
From a business perspective, he really breaks down the acquisition of each new restaurant and how that affected his entire business and how he reacted to it. Now he runs a business with 1000+ people working there including the catering business. He is competitive and driven but he truly believes the key to his success has been hospitality. Hospitality not only to the customers that frequent his restaurants, Union Square Cafe, Tabla, Grammercy Tavern, 11 Madison, The Shake Shack, The Modern and the cafes in the MOMA but to the employees that work there.
He has been very diligent about who he has hired. Are they the right person for this organization and restaurant. Asking for feedback from his employees on how to make the workplace better. Making the employees feel ownership of the places that they work. Shared ownership. That is why when you go to Danny’s restaurants the majority of management stays for years which creates a positive impact on the internal restaurant and the patrons who walk in.
His philosophy could easily be applied to any business. Nothing like providing a positive working environment. It makes a huge difference.
In some ways, his book represents simple good old Midwestern common sense and values. Bravo to Danny for using them.