AWSI: Danny Meyer IS the Man to Watch (and Listen to)…

During the same weekend that The New York Times did a scathing (and quite lengthy) front page story on Jeff Bezos and Amazon that was kind of a downer, The Wall Street Journal featured Danny Meyer in a Weekend Confidential piece which was quite uplifting.


As usual, Meyer came across charming and was quite quotable. Here are some examples.

Mr. Meyer says that Shake Shack is also an example of how dining is increasingly heading into what he calls “fine casual.” He expects to see more casual chains and restaurants focused on good food and service.

“What Shake Shack taught me was that you can actually do something more than once and have all sorts of creativity.”

He also mentioned how starting Shake Shack gave him a new perspective on dining.


“In the early part of my career, we just lived in different worlds. We had chain people, and we had fine-dining people, and they just didn’t want to be seen in the same ZIP Codes,” he says. But fashion companies such as Ralph Lauren have long mixed different lines at different price points, he notes. “Why can’t restaurants be like so many [fashion] brands that have couture and casual?”

He isn’t worried. In his 2006 book, “Setting the Table,” Mr. Meyer wrote that the restaurant industry used to be thought of as “location, location, location,” but he thinks it is actually more about context.

“It’s not ‘Where is it located?’ but ‘What does its location suggest about what it should be?’ ”

We loved Setting the Table!

In the case of Union Square Cafe—along with Untitled, his new restaurant in Manhattan’s Whitney Museum, which moved downtown earlier this year—he doesn’t think the new locations will take anything away.

“There are restaurants that are more about the spirit that lives within those four walls.”

And our favoritest (most favorite) quote of all had to do with his goal of making diners feel at home, only better:

“We’re going to hopefully do some fun stuff that…makes you say, ‘I never knew home was quite this nice.’

He’s onto something with his hospitality philosophical bent. We’ve written about him a couple of times. Our recommendation — if you see his name or hear his name mentioned, or better yet, hear his voice, stop what you are doing and pay attention. You’ll learn something valuable that you can assimilate and apply in your daily life. What’s more, you’ll walk with a hop in your step and a knowing smile on your face. For lack of better words, we’ll call it the Danny Meyer Effect.



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