Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
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A landmark, bestselling business book and a fascinating behind-the-scenes history of the creation of Danny's most famous eating establishments, Setting the Table is a treasure trove of valuable, innovative insights applicable to any business or organization.
small kitchen and our inexperienced cooks. I hated having to edit dishes I loved from the menu, even if only temporarily—but I did remove them. On most nights, there would come a point when I would leave the dining room and stand sweating in the kitchen, because I couldn’t face the fuming guests anymore. Watching Ali try to expedite his way out of a wall of “dupes”—each one representing a table of hungry guests—was safer than subjecting myself to the slings and arrows in the dining room. In my
the ongoing challenge has been to combine the best elements of ﬁne dining with accessibility—in other words, with open arms. This was once a radical concept in my business, where excellent cuisine was almost always paired with stiff arm’s-length service. Sometimes, we’ve moved in the other direction, beginning with the casual atmosphere of a barbecue joint or a shakes-and-burgers stand, Th e Fi r s t Co u r s e 9 and then attempting to exceed expectations by employing a caring staff and using
express and reveal their humanness, learn from their mistakes, lighten up, and relax.This is a contribution to the dialogue on hospitality that we work at quite consciously. But it, too, requires the optimal 51-49 mix.The idea is to attain a balance: hiring people who are naturally upbeat and genuine but who are also highlevel achievers capable of delivering excellence. We make it clear to our employees that we’re going to give them a great troupe of positive, hopeful colleagues to work with,
can be extremely helpful to our business.When we err, or are perceived to have fallen short of someone’s mark, or simply fall out of favor, negative press can set back our business. Imagine that I’m standing on the shores 161 162 setting the table of Manhattan and I am required to cross the Atlantic to France.The catch is that to get there, I have only two options: I can either swim or ride there on the back of a shark. Swimming is obviously out of the question. I’ll tire, freeze, and soon
Convention. It was just before the Labor Day weekend, and the city felt desolate. Many families were away on vacation, and thousands of other New Yorkers simply chose to ﬂee the city to avoid the inﬂux of conventioneers or from fear that the convention might once again make the city the target of a terrorist attack. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had optimistically touted the convention as a boon for business. Bro a d c a s t i n g t h e Me s s a g e , Tu n i n g i n t h e Fe e d b a c k 163 Perhaps