USHG’s Meyer: Genuine hospitality a foundation for success

USHG’s Meyer: Genuine hospitality a foundation for success

LOS ANGELES —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

Meyer, founder and president of the 11-unit, multiconcept Union Square Hospitality Group [3], said he analyzed the difference between the two as he prepared to write his 2006 book, “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.” —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

“Service describes the degree to which you deliver technically on your promise,” Meyer said. “Hospitality describes how you make the recipient of that service feel.” —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

Making customers feel good about their experiences has helped vault his restaurants to the top of the Zagat consumer-based surveys, Meyer said. His Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern [4] have vied with each other for the No. 1 and No. 2 ratings for most popular restaurant on the survey for the past decade. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

Meyer, a native of St. Louis, opened Union Square Cafe in 1985 when he was 27 years old. The restaurant broke new ground, said Carlton Curtis, vice president of industry relations for The Coca-Cola Co., as he introduced Meyer. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

“Union Square Cafe sparked a whole new breed of American restaurants by serving excellent food and wine in a relaxed setting,” Curtis said. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

The Coca-Cola Co. sponsored the speech. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

Gramercy Tavern opened nine years later, and a few years after that Meyer formed the Union Square Hospitality Group, which has nine restaurants across a spectrum of segments, including fine dining, quick service and barbecue. The group also runs a catering business and has a licensing agreement for a Union Square Cafe in Tokyo. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

The company’s restaurants and chefs have earned 16 James Beard awards and all five of its fine-dining restaurants have received three-star ratings from The New York Times. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

Providing hospitality has been critical to the restaurants’ success, although it is the toughest part of what they do, Meyer said. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

“Hospitality is measured by the degree with which the recipient feels you are on their side,” he said. “We need to hire the kind of human beings who have the emotional skills to understand how to do that.” —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

Operators should look for employees with what Meyer called a high hospitality quotient, or HQ. Even if it takes longer to find a line cook or server, restaurant managers should hold out for the line cook or server who is by nature hospitable, he advised. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

The primary emotional skills of someone with a high HQ are kindness, curiosity, a superior work ethic, empathy, high self-awareness and a high degree of integrity, he said. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

“The hospitality will never be any warmer or more genuine or feel any better than the quality of this ingredient—the people we hire,” he said. “Furthermore, the way we treat our people and the way we respect them is going to determine the success of the restaurant. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.” —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

In analyzing what USHG was doing to help him write the book, Meyer said he realized they had created a virtuous cycle, where one good thing leads to another. The cycle starts by putting employees first, before customers. After customers, came the communities where they do business, then their suppliers and finally their investors. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

The restaurant industry has the opportunity to be leaders in hospitality and show other industries how they can positively impact their businesses for the better, Meyer said. —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.

“This is where our industry really has to buckle down,” he said. “I don’t think any of us is incredibly proud that we are still not the industry of choice. The key issue here is to have the discipline and skills to lead the way.” —Hospitality and service are two different things, New York restaurateur and author Danny Meyer said during his keynote address to attendees of the 2007 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators conference here.