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Setting the Table

The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
Narrated by: Danny Meyer
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (61 ratings)

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Summary

Danny Meyer started Union Square Cafe when he was 27, with a good idea and scant experience. He is now the CEO of one of the world's most dynamic restaurant organizations, one that includes 11 unique dining establishments, each at the top of its game. How did he do it? How has he consistently beaten the odds in one of the toughest trades around?

In this landmark book, Danny shares the lessons he learned while developing the winning recipe for his way of doing business � what he calls "Enlightened Hospitality". This innovative business philosophy emphasizes putting the power of hospitality to work in a new and counterintuitive way: the first and most important recipients of hospitality are the people who work for you. In descending order of priority, the next most important receivers of hospitality are guests, the community, suppliers, and investors. This way of setting priorities stands more traditional business models on their heads, but Danny considers it the foundation of every success he and his restaurants have had.

Full of behind-the-scenes history on the creation of Danny's most famous restaurants, and the anecdotes, advice, and lessons he has accumulated on his long and ecstatic journey to the top, Setting the Table is a treasure trove of innovative insights applicable to any business or organization.

©2006 Danny Meyer (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Critic reviews

"This honest, modest book will appeal most to foodies and aspiring restaurateurs but also offers insight for entrepreneurs in any industry." ( Publishers Weekly)

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Not ideal if you're after learning

The book is mostly about the author's journey to fame. There isn't much to learn here, except perhaps that hospitality should be your main focus and that you should not expand too quickly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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brilliant

Definitely one of the best books ever re hospitality management and business development. . .

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the hospitality play book...

Danny Meyer is the ultimate, genuine host who is at the fore front of his game... his value driven approach is laid out in this book and performed to perfection at his amazing restaurants...

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High end restaurant stories

This book was recommended by a successful London coffee shop owner to me. I don’t think it was that suitable for me as it talks about a very formal world of hospitality and in my eyes, an outdated one based on white cloth decked European restaurant culture. I did however learn from Danny Meyer about an attitude towards employees, credibility, honesty and respect that I aspire to.
I recommend this book if terms such as “excellence” excite you and if you have been an admirer of one of the restaurants in New York and wanted to learn something about it and about the person behind it. Otherwise it goes way too much into his personal life in the first few chapters. I might revisit the middle chapters about customer service again tho.
The narration of the book was excellent (barring a horrid French pronunciation) and never dull.

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The inner workings of an industry legend

I wish every business owner - not just restaurateurs - could read this insightful book

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A restaurant "Bible" for life and staff support.

In my opinion, a much needed guide for support for all. Professional or not is worth reading.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jay
  • 04-12-07

Solid

If you are looking for a how to book, this is not it. But it is a solid book providing a foundation of concepts that have allowed one man to succeed in an industry where many fail. i would have preferred a little more of the drier materials like the guts of the business, but over all i was impressed with it, a good read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ashley Strader
  • 19-02-18

ABRIDGED VERSION!?

Buyer beware! I happened to be switching from recording to paper copy of this book and the recording is absolutely abridged! There are whole sections missing from the recording when compared to the book.

I’ve already read this book in the past - great information on Danny Meyer and the beginnings of USHG. Also provides helpful, albeit high-level, business frameworks that apply to restaurant world, greater business landscape, and general interactions among people. Definitely worth a read, but perhaps find an unabridged copy first.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Mignon
  • 19-07-19

Great story but you’ll have to read the book for the whole thing

What an amazing book, but no where (except in the reviews I found after something didn’t seem right with my purchase) did any one say I wasn’t getting the entire book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca E Haas
  • 07-08-18

Tasty business advice

The author does an excellent job of taking concepts from an industry that often is portrayed as chaotic and full of failures and highlights what makes some restaurants truly great. Beautiful personal and industry insights that you can really sink your teeth into and apply to your own business, no matter the industry. Particularly great for anyone in service industries (ie. real estate) and personal services (Wealth management, insurance, etc)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Leahmgordon
  • 25-12-17

Hospitality for the masses

I now quote Danny almost every day: "Hospitality is present when you do something FOR someone. It is not present when you do something TO them. I keep trying to translate that into healthcare every day. Thank you Danny for wonderful, helpful, insightful words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jackie
  • 22-09-08

Inspiring listen

I love to hear about people undaunted by all the reasons something isn't a "practical" idea, who do it with passion and succeed beyond their wildest hopes. A happy, inspiring listen.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Frank Greco
  • 18-03-19

Best Role Model

I had the pleasure of working with Danny for four years from 1990 - ‘94 at Union Square Cafe and as an opener of Gramercy Tavern. As an avid outdoorsman I moved to Lake Tahoe CA shortly after where I have remained for over 20 years as a restaurant and nightclub manager for the same company. I implemented every single thing I learned during my time with Danny and friends bringing two restaurants and one nightclub to the #1 place in the company often referring to Danny as my mentor. I’ve been blessed

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven
  • 29-09-18

A breath of fresh air.

It would be easy to say that this is all common sense.
But common sense is not very common anymore.
As a new retail food business owner, I would have to say this is a must read.
This book is an import grounding post and should be read once every two years.

Thank you Danny!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Bryant
  • 14-08-18

every restaurant manager and owner

This book is the very best restaurant owners book I have ever read. I am going to make this required reading for all my shift leaders and managers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard B. Moore
  • 17-02-18

Fantastic

Excellent book. Well written and delivered. Part restaurant/ business how to part self bio. Definitely worth purchase.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful