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Setting The Table Lessons And Inspirations From One Of The World's Leading Entrepreneurs

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,704 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
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.
Hardcover
Published April 26th 2007 by Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish (first published October 1st 2006)
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Mindy
Nov 30, 2008 Mindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Library Leadership
I don't think I will ever find a business book that is as great as "Good to Great" but this book is definitely up there in my top two or three. This is an easy to read, and if you love food, gripping book about how to open, develop, grow, evolve, design, run and have fun in a restaurant. Bu it goes way beyond restaurants.

In his introduction Danny says, “In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life,
...more
Susan Dove Lempke
I heard about this at the Public Library Association conference at a session on hospitality, and I am grateful. I wouldn't have connected a book on the restaurant business with the public library business, but they have customers and we have patrons, and a lot is the same. The fundamental difference is that restaurants are for profit and public libraries answer to the taxpayer and a board of trustees. But there were many similarities--their diners are our patrons--and even if there weren't, it w ...more
Normalene
Apr 17, 2015 Normalene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Danny Meyer’s New York restaurants survived through 9/11, the downturn of 2008 and not only survived but thrived. How he does it is something every person who deals with customer service should read. He talks about training, hiring the best fit, not necessarily the best qualified, how to maintain your vision when the whole world is telling you you’re wrong and what is important to him in maintaining the high quality he is known for. It takes a while to get into the meat of the book, but once you ...more
Josh
Aug 06, 2011 Josh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wealthy wannabe restauranteurs
not poorly written at all, and in fact pretty engaging. i just cant stand danny meyer. basically, if you have a cool 500k of daddy's $$$ and know some shady real estate agents in nyc, you can own a restaurant too!!!
Ev
Feb 11, 2015 Ev rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The state of mind at which I finish this book is awash in two dichotomous realities: utter relief, in what has been a persistent journey to finish something so tepid and platitudinous in delivery; and a misplaced sense of pompous accomplishment in doing so. Thus defines the broad crux of my review.

My main aim was to glean some unique insight into management and professional success. I think the restaurant place is an astute metaphor for all business; stress, pressure and human relationships defi
...more
Jo
Mar 22, 2008 Jo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Danny Meyer and I like most of the book, but then began to get very bored very quickly. I am not sure I even finished it. It does give you good insight into his hospitality philosophy which I admire.
Fud
Feb 27, 2015 Fud rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I got tired and a bit bored by the finish I gained a respect and admiration for the expertise and dedication of Danny Meyer. It bodes well for the success of Shake Shack.
James Wright
"In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard."

There is no question that Mr. Meyer is on to something. Although some of his more high-end concepts have collapsed under the heft of their lofty aspirations, Meyer has grown his single restaurant into a multi-million dollar empire. At the center of it all is the notion that how
...more
Tyler
Dec 18, 2011 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, biography, business
A friend of mine turned me on to this wonderful business book by James Beard award-winning Restaurateur Danny Meyer (of Union Square Cafe, Blue Smoke, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Shake Shack, The Modern, and Hudson Yards Catering fame).

My friend had mentioned to me that this was a book that his boss (an accomplished businessman and investor who I greatly admire) couldn't stop talking about. It wasn't far into this book that I too could see the reason behind the enthusiasm of my
...more
Leslie Nord
Feb 11, 2014 Leslie Nord rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Written by successful New York restauranteur Danny Meyer - he shares what he has learned about growing restaurants successfully. Lots of specific details pertinent to restaurants that I skipped over - but found his advice on how to treat customers to be valueable and applicable to libraries and other businesses. A sample of his wisdom, "our business is to give people a story to tell."
Mahmoud Khoder
Dec 20, 2014 Mahmoud Khoder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best business books I ever read: my intake on this book Danny Meyer owned and managed more than 9 restaurants, as we all know that once you have more than one business it is impossible to be in each one at the same time, Danny managed with high level of excellence to integrate a dynamic system with an empathic human touch, I recommend reading this book with the combination of reading the E-myth book, having systems in place to escalate your business growth should not replace the authe ...more
Ashley
Mar 21, 2014 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivated Server

This book has been an inspiration! I chose to rejoin the restaurant industry as I finished college because it was what I knew and was comfortable with. After giving the corporate world a chance, I took my business degree back to where my passion was.It was more than encouraging to hear praise for those who have love for hospitality! Working in a restaurant isn't what it used to be and I don't have! that hanging over my head any longer.

A great read for anyone interested in hospi
...more
Christina Boyle
Like any great manager it is Danny Meyer's grasp for details that provide part of his winning formula in running a business. He has systemized the art of training his servers to provide hospitality in a "genuine" way (using the Ritz Carlton as his cautionary reference point).

This book reads like a real life MBA guide. And while some stories are interesting, it reads slow and a little chore-like. And can invoke some cynicism ... capital breeds capital! And he was raised with quite a bit of privi
...more
James J. Gurksnis Jr.
Great if you're interested in going into the business.

I liked Danny's passion for opening multiple restaurants and the fact that he was able to keep his customer base when he opened separate entities. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in going into the restaurant business on their own.
Betsy
May 21, 2016 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These aren't Michelin stars, but I can best explain my rating by saying that my reason for starting the book was curiosity (three stars) and I was moderately entertained by and interested in his personal history (again, three stars). His writing comes in at a strong four stars, and the content reaches a rousing five. Having nothing whatever to do with the restaurant business, I found his sage counsel to be highly applicable to other businesses and services (libraries and churches)--really anywhe ...more
Wil Reynolds
Jan 06, 2014 Wil Reynolds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my soul I believe that making people feel special is a competitive advantage, whether that is with employees or with clients.
Do your clients feel like guests?

I think people who work in the hospitality (particularly hotels) look at their jobs in one of two ways, most see their jobs as helping someone to have a good night’s sleep, in a clean and nice room. Some others see their job as making sure guests are relaxed, that guests enjoy their city, and that guests don’t have to worry about a THING
...more
David Kibbe
Aug 18, 2010 David Kibbe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Danny Meyers writes a good story of his developing his excellent restaurant business in NYC. Clearly committed to excellence. That comes through on every page. I enjoyed it.
Jamie Jones
Aug 28, 2015 Jamie Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a book I had in my mind to read for several years. Many colleagues have encouraged me to pick this book up, but I just put it off. I finally took the plunge and jumped in. I haven't stopped talking about Danny Meyer's leadership style since I started reading this. Being in the world of hotel and restaurant training and development, I often seek to find managers who think the way Danny Meyer does. He is a business man, but also believes in developing and leading his people. He is a true, ...more
grundoon
Aug 03, 2015 grundoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As memoir or history of his hospitality group, it's reasonably well done, though falls short if looking for either - and it's certainly no manual on bootstrapping, unless you happen to be of similarly moneyed and connected stock, at which it would still also fall short. Fortunate then that it's not intended as any such, but as an espousing of his core business philosophy with plenty of background story. They are values which I have long held myself, which not only made for an interesting (if occ ...more
Matthew
Aug 15, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought there was no way that a restaurant owner in New York City was going to be able to tell me anything I didn't already know about hospitality, but Danny Meyer blew me away with his insight and wisdom.

Here are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from this book:

"Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side"

"Hospitality is a team sport"

"...business and life have a lot in common with a hug. The best way to get a good one was first to give one."

"Service is th
...more
Jeff
Feb 12, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-book-list
One of the best leadership books I've read. It's about hospitality but Danny Meyer tells his story of being a restaurant/entrepreneur and in doing so provides incredible, real-life leadership principles and lessons.

A few takeaways:

* Hospitality is the foundation of my business philosophy. Virtually nothing else is as important as how one is made to feel in any business transaction. Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side.

* Business and life have a lot in common wi
...more
JJ Casas
Dec 14, 2012 JJ Casas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I have nothing to do with the restaurant business, my photography business relies on great customer service just like any business. Danny Meyer explains his story of how he became a top notch New York restauranteur and more importantly, how he propelled his restaurants to be the very best.

In the book, Danny walks through with you how he brings hospitality to the next level across his restaurants. While most people know that "customers are always right," Danny illustrates what exactly he an
...more
Ian
Jun 05, 2015 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Book about a restauranteur who started Union Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack (though this last one is barely mention at all) in NYC. The book is positioned as being about his service mentality, but at times it seems forced. Not a lot of detail goes into the business side. Its amazing that he took a love of food + 8 months as an assistant manager + money from somewhere to create his first restaurant. I just wish i could have heard more on the details to understand exactly how he did it.
Angela
Jan 05, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that one of the world's top restaurateurs was also a gifted writer? The first third of this book, written in memoir form about his early career, completely absorbed and touched me. His stories about his father and grandfather I found especially poignant. He then turns his attention to his business insights and his concept of enlightened hospitality, which I experienced for the first time a couple of weeks ago at his flagship Union Square Cafe in New York. The staff treated me like a din ...more
Loulwa
Nov 18, 2014 Loulwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Loulwa by: my manager
Shelves: food, business
Great recommendation if you want to set up a food or hospitality business. Some stories can be distractive and not well written.
The writer is a businessman and not that creative, which is clearly reflected in his book. The lessons and steps are clear and well understood.

Would have been more exciting in some parts, the book doesnt seem flowing in words. It is a story but at the same time like a long business case study.

John G.
Aug 01, 2015 John G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those business alternative philosophy type books which goes against the grain of conventional corporate wisdom. I've served tables for over 8 years and currently work in hospitality, so I can relate to this book a lot. I like it that the author doesn't see employees as disposable, there's a prevalent myth that you simply can't keep good employees in restaurants and that's utter BS, it boils down to good people not putting up with unfair treatment and inept and hostile management a ...more
Penny
Mar 14, 2009 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on CD so my references to sections might seen a bit odd if you're reading a print version. The first disc was mostly autobiographical. About half way through the second disc Mr. Meyer makes his first reference to working with the staff as a big part of hospitality.

Some of the ideas he brings up are interesting. One that comes to mind is the idea of hiring based on 49 percent skill and 51 percent what we might call emotional intelligence (although that's not what he calls
...more
Evan
this book was incredible on several different levels.

I love New York City and since the majority of the book focused on that city's culinary scene, I was a happy reader. Plus, it was about food and hospitality - both speak deeply to me.

Finally, it's ideas on business were life-changing for me. It really did change the way I think about leading a team and creating a business.
Todd
Aug 14, 2014 Todd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if you ran your business like one of Danny Meyer's infamous restaurants in NYC? That is the idea of this book: that a culture of elevated hospitality can be possible for every organization. This excellent book, which is both bio and lessons learned along the way, belongs on the shelf of every leader of people and is now one of my most recommended business guides.
Tom
Jun 26, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert: the salt shaker moves. Kidding aside, this book is useful beyond the restaurant industry in that it puts to words concrete examples where hospitality can be improved—for the betterment of employees, guests, and the business as a whole. Agree partially or completely, there are helpful lessons to glean from Meyer's experience.
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Considered by the New York Times to be "the greatest restaurateur Manhattan has ever seen," Danny Meyer is CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group. His restaurants have won an unprecedented twenty-one James Beard Awards. His book, Setting the Table, was a New York Times bestseller.
More about Danny Meyer...

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“The excellence reflex is a natural reaction to fix something that isn't right, or to improve something that could be better.

The excellence reflex is rooted in instinct and upbringing, and then constantly honed through awareness, caring and practice.

The overarching concern to do the right thing well is something we can't train for. Either it's there or it isn't.”
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“Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.” 3 likes
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