From his early twenties spent studying the dining rooms, kitchens, and markets of Europe to his insatiable appetite for discovering and improving on local specialities in his NYC apartment, Meyer's life-long journey to realize his visions of perennial dining experiences is packed with inspiration for any business venture. I found his later chapters on navigating press and customer reviews, as well as building teams through discerning hiring practices especially illuminating. Meyers' nine traits for successful managers and seven core business teams are imbued with the essence of his mantra of "enlightened hospitality."
- Ripping up floorboards and stuffing fabric beneath tables to better absorb sound so that patrons can hold conversations more easily
- Embracing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software despite the glitches and traditionalists to track idiosyncrasies of guests in order to better serve their needs
- Optimizing menu boxes with lighting, prices, and non-head-scratchy ingredients lists
- Thank you cards for first-time diners with survey information and a coupon for their next visit
- Training reservationists to "plant like seeds in like gardens," in order to increase networking value for patrons at lunch and dinners, but still maintain privacy
I can't wait to begin applying these principles and set the table. [JG]
Danny Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. His restaurants and their chefs have earned twenty-one James Beard Awards, and are perennially ranked among NYC's favorite food spots in the Zagat survey. You can explore and make reservations at his twenty restaurants here. I'm especially eager to try Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, and Porchlight.