Enlightened Hospitality

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Enlightened Hospitality

I took a quick trip to New York City last week, and while dining in some great spots I was reminded of a favorite guru of mine in the hospitality industry: Danny Meyer. Danny is CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group and owner of famed restaurants such as Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Tabla, The Shake Shack, and many more.

I LOVE his approach to business which he calls enlightened hospitality and which serves as the foundation of his thriving restaurant empire. This business model, designed for long-term sustained profitability, embraces his key stakeholders in the following order: 1) employees  2) customers 3) community 4) suppliers, and 5) investors. Hmmm? Investors at the bottom of the list? Sound a bit backwards? Meyer argues that if you place the emphasis on the first four groups (in this order) you will find that it is their collective work and collaboration that fuels even greater and more enduring financial success which ultimately fuels the bottom line and makes for happy investors.

His businesses are known for outstanding employees, warm hospitality, strong ties with exceptional suppliers, and a solid commitment to playing an active role in the community. Investors are honored to be associated with businesses that generate not only profit, but good will and soul. There’s a lot to be learned from this business philosophy and I have enjoyed reading Meyer’s book Setting the Table, The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.

Meyer understands that serving food is secondary to the experiences he creates for his customers and to quote him, “Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that’s hard.”

Cindy Wilson

PS – If you’re heading to NY  there’s a few new Shake Shacks popping up in the Theater District and the Upper East Side.

PS – I know it’s been around for a while, but my daughter and I loved, loved, loved Billy Elliott The Musical and I hear it’s coming to San Francisco in the Fall.

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