Building a restaurant and hospitality empire from the ground up doesn’t happen by accident—it’s the product of unwavering attention to detail complemented by a bold vision. That’s where Danny Meyer’s classic book comes in: Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.
Restaurants have a notoriously high failure rate. By some estimates, more than half of new restaurants shutter before their fifth anniversary. When you’re a restaurateur, the odds are stacked against you—especially if you’re a novice. But what about the outliers? The mavens, the tastemakers who have the magic touch?
Enter Danny Meyer: St. Louis native, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, and founder of several restaurants including the beloved Shake Shack. At the age of 27, Meyer opened Union Square Cafe in New York City which became an instant hit. But he wanted to prove to himself that his success wasn’t a fluke–and it wasn’t. Today, Meyer has a portfolio of restaurants and is widely regarded as one of the most successful restaurateurs on the planet.
In his memoir-manifesto hybrid, Meyer illustrates the philosophy which he credits to his success: Enlightened Hospitality. “[Enlightened Hospitality] stands some more traditional business approaches on their head, but it’s the foundation of every business decision and every success we’ve had,” says Meyer.
Meyer’s writing is undeniably entertaining and intriguing, but what’s most impressive about the book is how easily it can be applied to industries outside of hospitality. Whether you’re managing a coffee shop or a publicly traded corporation, Meyer’s behind-the-scenes stories are guaranteed to equip you with priceless insights into leadership, creativity, and customer service.
At Hill Investment Group, we don’t limit our reading to books strictly about finance. In fact, some of the best Long View lessons we’ve learned come from stories completely unrelated to money. Now, thanks to Danny Meyer, we can add hospitality to that collection.