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Paperback Setting the Table : The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business Book

ISBN: 0060742763

ISBN13: 9780060742768

Setting the Table : The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

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Book Overview

The bestselling business book from award-winning restauranteur Danny Meyer, of Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and Shake Shack Seventy-five percent of all new restaurant ventures fail, and of those that do stick around, only a few become icons. Danny Meyer started Union Square Cafe when he was 27, with a good idea and hopeful investors. He is now the co-owner of a restaurant empire. How did he do it? How did he beat the odds in one of the toughest...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

He cares about his readers as much as his diners

Meyer's devotion to making sure the reader comes away from this book with a hugely positive experience mirrors his approach to restaurant hospitality. Unlike some other memoirs by successful business people I have read recently (Real Deal by Weill) which merely detail what happened in their careers, Meyer digs very deeply to reveal and confide how and why things happened. Other than giving the secret ingredients of some of his sauces, Meyer holds very little back in detailing what it takes to succeed in the restaurant business, all of which is pertinent to business generally. You cannot fail to learn a great deal from this entertaining volume.

One of the Great Ones

I loved this book. I have read many many business, management, marketing pholosophy books and this one is way up there in terms of the "takeaways" I got from this book. I especially enjoyed the part about how Danny evaluated potential employees,how he defines the manager's main job as helping to make your employees successful in their jobs, and using Constant Gentle Pressure to keep his business "centered". Lots of wisdom in this one and many relevant and fun anecdotes. Alas, I'm embarassed to say I have never eaten in one of Danny's restaurants, but I will make it a priority now. If you like to learn about management, hospitality, & life and have a pleasant reading experience while doing it...then get this book!

A "Must Read" for all involved in customer care

Although this book reads a bit slow in chapters 1-3 - the author really gets cooking in chapter 4 when he begins to provide his story of "turning over the rocks" to learn more about customer experiences, their patterns, and all of the elements that may go into their decision to or not to choose your brand/company etc. Chapters five through 12 just sing, and would make anyone passionate about making customer service better, and engaging the right people for the right type of work within an experience-driven work role, very pleased to have read. (This is my first review - please forgive the rudimentary nature of my opinion on this book - I think you'll find the book a little hard to put down.)

The Nature and Value of Authentic Hospitality

This book will be of great interest and even greater value if one or more of the following is relevant to you: 1. You have direct and frequent contact with customers. 2. You train and/or supervise those who do. 3. You need to improve your "people skills" in your business and personal relationships. 4. Your organization has problems attracting, hiring, and then keeping the people it needs to prosper. 5. Your organization has problems with others who, for whatever reasons, consistently under-perform. It is no coincidence that many of those on Fortune magazine's annual list of most admired companies reappear on its annual list of most profitable companies. Moreover, both customers and employees rank "feeling appreciated" among the three most important attributes of satisfaction. Now consider the total cost of a mis-hire or the departure of a peak performer: Estimates vary from six to 18 times the annual salary, including hours and dollars required by the replacement process. Until now, I have said nothing about Danny Meyer nor about the restaurant industry so as to reassure those who read this brief commentary that, although Setting the Table does indeed provide interesting information about him and his background, the book's greater value derives (in my opinion) from the lessons he has learned from his successes and failures thus far, both within and beyond the kitchen. One of the most important concepts in this book is hospitality. Here's what Meyer has to say about it: "hospitality is the foundation of my business philosophy. Virtually nothing else is as important as how one is made to feel in any business transaction. Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side. The converse is just as true. Hospitality is present when something happens [begin italics] for [end italics] you. It is absent when something happens [begin italics] to [end italics] you. These two simple propositions - for and to - express it all." According to Meyer, service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel about the transaction. This is precisely what Leonard Berry has in mind when explaining what he calls "the soul of service." Another of the most important concepts in this book is "connecting the dots" which Meyer views as a process by which information accumulated "can make meaningful connections that can make other people feel good and give you an edge in business. Using whatever information I've collected to gather guests together in a shared experience is what I call connecting the dots." Of special interest to me are those whom Meyer characterizes as mentors to whom he has turned for sound (albeit candid) advice. For example, on one occasion he enthusiastically "showed off" to Pat Cetta (co-owner of Sparks Steakhouse) a new dish just added to the Union Street Café menu: Fried oyster Caesar salad. Cetta's response? "This dish is nothing more than mental mast

Smart about restaurants, brilliant about life

The 2006 Zagat Survey lists Gramercy Tavern as New York's most popular restaurant. (It was also #1 last year.) Union Square Café came in second. (As it did last year.) Eleven Madison Park ranked fourteen. (Down one from 2005.) Tabla was eighteen. (Up one from 2005.) Blue Smoke --- unranked in 2005 --- was the 36th most popular restaurant. These Manhattan restaurants were all conceived by one man: Danny Meyer, who has also created the restaurants at The Museum of Modern Art and an outdoor joint called Shake Shack. Most restaurants fail, and quickly; these restaurants have, most of them, been around long enough to qualify as "institutions." If you have ever had the good fortune to sample Danny Meyer's food, you know they are likely to remain so deep into the future. Now Danny Meyer has written a book. It is nominally a memoir about his life in restaurants. But although there are mouth-watering descriptions of great meals, it will be a great tragedy if this book becomes "food porn," devoured by foodies and unknown to the general public. This is a bigger book, and a better book, than that. (Not that there's anything wrong with food porn.) For one thing, it is a business book that should be read --- like: today! --- by anyone whose livelihood involves face-to-face encounters with customers. For another, it is a hands-on, real-world book of practical philosophy that could knock a great deal of sense into those who believe that nice guys finish last and the only way to get to the top is to kick others off the ladder as you claw your way up. This book obeys the form of memoir, especially in the young Meyer's culinary education --- his writing will remind some readers of A.J. Liebling's postgraduate adventures in Between Meals. But almost every story has a psychological twist; this is a man who has learned a lot by eating and a lot more by listening and watching. What he's concluded is obvious to those who have been to his restaurants: It's not about the food. It's about the people. It's about the way you feel when you're there --- about the way the staff makes you feel. In a word, it's about hospitality. What is hospitality? It starts with a belief: "The other person is on your side." And then the belief becomes behavior: "Hospitality is present when something happens for you." Meyer came to this business philosophy young. In 1985, when he was 27 and opening his first restaurant, Union Square Café, he had job applicants answer unusual questions: "Has your sense of humor been useful to you in your service career?" and "What was so wrong about your last job?" and "Do you prefer Hellmann's or Miracle Whip?" In this way, he hired "genuine, happy, optimistic" people. They shared their good feelings with customers. And customers felt liked and valued. They became regulars --- and if the secret of a successful long-term enterprise is not Repeat Business, what is it? Make no mistake: this kind of hospitality requires work. Not just when the customer
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