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Setting the Table


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Danny Meyer, a native of St. Louis, opened his first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, in 1985 when he was twenty-seven, and went on to found the Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes some of New York City's most acclaimed restaurants: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, Maialino, North End Grill, Blue Smoke, and Shake Shack, as well as Jazz Standard, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient. Danny, his restaurants, and his chefs have earned an unprecedented twenty-five James Beard Awards. Danny's groundbreaking business book, Setting the Table, was a New York Times bestseller, and he has coauthored two cookbooks with his business partner, Chef Michael Romano. Danny lives in New York with his wife and children. Michael Romano joined Union Square Cafe in 1988, preparing his unique style of American cuisine with an Italian soul. In 1993, Michael became Danny Meyer's partner. Under Michael's leadership, Union Square Cafe has been ranked Most Popular in New York City Zagat surveys for a record seven years. The restaurant also received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant of the Year. Michael has coauthored two cookbooks with Danny Meyer, The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and Second Helpings. He is the recipient of numerous nominations and awards, including the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef in New York City in 2001, and in 2000, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America.


With the same grace and generosity displayed in his dining rooms, Meyer's instructive how-we-did-it account shares lessons learned on his way to becoming CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. Meyer opened Union Square Cafe in 1985 when he was 27 years old. It hit its stride three years later when he hired chef Michael Romano, and Meyer charts its evolution from a neighborhood to international institution. Initially cautious about expansion, he opened Gramercy Tavern with chef Tom Colicchio three years later, eventually broadening his New York City restaurant empire to 11 establishments including Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack and the Modern. Meyer makes a distinction between service ("the technical delivery of a product") and the "Enlightened Hospitality" at the core of his business strategy-both necessary for restaurant success. He notes that hospitality "is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel" and shares tips like hiring "51 percenters," or staff with "skills divided 51-49 between emotional hospitality and technical excellence," and the "Five As" for addressing mistakes: awareness, acknowledge, apologize, act, additional generosity. This honest, modest book will appeal most to foodies and aspiring restaurateurs but also offers insight for entrepreneurs in any industry. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Meyer is known to foodies as the man behind 11 acclaimed restaurants in New York City, including Union Square Caf? and Gramercy Tavern. While that would be more than enough professional accomplishment for most people, apparently Meyer has had time enough on his hands to branch out into writing as well. Anyone who has started or maintained a business will have strong ideas about the best way to run things, and Meyer is no exception. While such chapter headings as "The 51 Percent Solution" and "Constant, Gentle Pressure" evoke the all-too-common themes of most leadership books, this book is something more. It is actually the story of Meyer's restaurant empire and how he got to where he is today, overlaid with his own views on management and what has worked for him. A fun and enjoyable read, it provides a good behind-the-scenes view of the restaurant business, though it's more autobiography than business how-to. Recommended for libraries with strong cookery or business collections.-Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Danny Meyer, restaurateur nonpareil, shares his never-fail recipe for business success." -- Vanity Fair"Restaurateur Danny Meyer offers a rich menu of business tips." -- Time magazine"Anyone in the hospitality industry would do well to consult 'Setting the Table'." -- Wall Street Journal

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