Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer

I came across this book randomly in Barnes and Noble while my sister was browsing for Kindle cases. (This was also the same day that I came upon How to Be Black, which I also want to read).

I’ve heard the name Danny Meyer a lot, but I didn’t really know why he was so famous. He’s an entrepreneur-restaurateur known for his many restaurants and food establishments, which include but aren’t limited to: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Blue Smoke/Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Cafe 2, and Terrace 5 (the last three are part of the MoMA). The book is part memoir and part advice/ideals about hospitality. I find that I agree and share many of his views about hospitality, and hope to implement some of the same “concepts” in my future establishment (…whenever that happens). Aside from the fact that the things I take from Meyer’s book can be applied to my current studies (Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management), it also struck a chord with me because so much of his work and success has occurred in my hood! – Danny Meyer is responsible for a good portion of the development around Union Square Park and Madison Square Park. I can’t say too much about Union Square, but Madison Square Park was like my backyard growing up, and I remember it when it was pretty plain (no Shake Shack, art structures, manicured lawns, etc.) and the playground there was just wooden beams and monkey bars that left your hands with that nasty metal smell. Now it’s one of the most populated parks and the neighborhood is fairly affluent. 

A good read!

Some of these might make more sense in the context of the story that Danny Meyer was telling, but anyway, here are some quotes from the book that I really liked (all Danny Meyer except for the last):

“Change works only when people believe it is happening for them, not to them.”

“Hospitality is hopeful; it’s confident, thoughtful, optimistic, generous, and openhearted.”

“The mind-set “We’re just hanging on” perpetuates scarcity. Investing money, imagination, and hard work to created a mind-set of abundance achieves abundance.”

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.” (Stanley Marcus, of Neiman Marcus family)


Jan 8-29.

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