In October 1985, at age twenty-seven, Danny Meyer, with a good idea and scant experience, opened what would become one of New York City's most revered restaurants-Union Square Cafe. Little more than twenty years later, Danny is the CEO of one of the world's most dynamic restaurant organizations, which includes eleven unique dining establishments, each at the top of its game. How has he done it? How has he consistently beaten the odds and set the competitive bar in one of the toughest trades around?
In this landmark book, Danny shares the lessons he's learned while developing the winning recipe for doing the business he calls "enlightened hospitality." This innovative philosophy emphasizes putting the power of hospitality to work in a new and counterintuitive way: The first and most important application of hospitality is to the people who work for you, and then, in descending order of priority, to the guests, the community, the suppliers, and the investors. This way of prioritizing stands the more traditional business models on their heads, but Danny considers it the foundation of every success that he and his restaurants have achieved.
Some of Danny's other insights:
Meyer is more persuasive and interesting, both as a storyteller and as a business adviser, when he sticks to concrete examples from his working life instead of spinning them into catchphrases that might work in a PowerPoint presentation. He has built his business not on food or service alone, but on the value of a colorful story - especially the ones that his clients tell to his future clients: the wallet lost in a cab and tracked down by Tabla's manager; the personal call from Meyer before a big anniversary dinner; a superb frozen custard on a sunny day in Madison Square Park.