Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How To Cook For The Guest

I read the same book twice this summer. Danny Meyer’s, “Setting the Table, The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” (an autographed copy no less) was a gift from the manager of Gramercy Tavern  as Sevy and I left one evening. We didn't know him, he didn't know who we were, we had only mentioned how hospitable we thought all the Meyer clan of restaurants were.  At the time I didn’t realize the core truth of the gift was what was enclosed within the covers. It’s a clearly stated vision of how empowering your organization with the key concepts of hospitality creates "excellence, success, good will and soul" for all stakeholders in a business - and he’s not just talking restaurants and hotels here.

Many of us in the restaurant industry are well familiar with the tenets of hospitality, it’s easy to think that we already know all the how’s and the why’s. But which of us cannot refine how we operate each day within our organization - especially in today's business climate? I’m just saying that this book provided a wealth of ideas for Sevy and I to apply to our own business, in our own manner - reading the book empowered us to do this. A week after returning from NYC we ordered 4 more copies of the book from for our managers to read.

The definition of hospitality, a noun, is: 1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. Mr. Meyer’s definition of empowered hospitality turns this in to a verb. It is actions or behaviors towards your staff, guests, community, suppliers and investors in a warm, friendly, generous way - it goes beyond welcoming the guest at the door, serving the food they order and presenting a check. But like most policies that succeed, it has to start at the top.

There is a Dallas link in this book, Mr. Meyer recounts a dinner with Stanley Marcus who gave him some excellent advice. I could share this, and more, since I’ve read the thing (did I mention, twice?).  But truly, Mr. Meyer deserves every penny of royalties he gets off of this business guide. So I’m not going to give away his secrets, I’m only going to recommend that if you own a business - any kind of business at all - there’s something in here that will help you see how to improve.

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