Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” as Want to Read:
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  3,593 ratings  ·  348 reviews
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Harper (first published October 1st 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Setting the Table, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Setting the Table

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,593 ratings  ·  348 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Evin Ashley
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 relati
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
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!!!
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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,
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Laura Vana
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best business books I've read so far. Danny Meyer, a great restaurateur with a huge legacy of high-class restaurants shares his business and leadership mindset from a hospitality point of view. I think the same mindset applies to any kind of business. I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in becoming a better leader and building great teams, not only to the ones in the hospitality industry.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unexpected to enjoy this as much as I did. Just the part on how to work with customers (the 5 A's) made the book worthwhile. Overall a great per-page book and as a non-New Yorker I probably underappreciate Meyer's work.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I am not that interested in food or restaurants so was not sure I would like this book. I did end up enjoying the book as Meyer uses his experience in the restaurant business to bring to life his views on hospitality in any organization. Parts of the book were gems. These included:

• Innate emotional skills for hospitality is as important- if not more important- than technical skills in hiring employees
• A good strategy is to “always on the improve” (p. 190)
Hardik Seth
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I took this book up to read something about the restaurant business. A good insight into the industry, specific to the US or rather NYC or more specifically Manhattan; with some business gyaan here and there. I am wondering if there's a similar story/book for the Indian context.

One should read this book and make a list of restaurants to visit and the dishes to try on their next visit to NYC, the gastronomic capital of the world. In one of the earlier chapters, the author also account
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Toot Toot!! That's the sound of Danny Meyer tooting his own horn for 300 pages. Meyer clearly knows what he's doing and has done an impressive job creating his restaurant empire, but I had a hard time connecting with his "lows" and learning lessons of how he overcame them. The best lesson of the book is the importance of investing in the community you serve; I had no idea the impact he had on Madison Sq. Park and Union Square.
Matthew Bunk
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His appeal for differentiation between service and hospitality should be embraced by anyone in a service industry.

Reading this made me want to buy a ticket to NYC and eat at all of his restaurants immediately.

The insights in the second half of the book about running his current empire made a greater lasting impression than the beginning which mostly focused on the history of how he built it.
Danny Bennett
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There's a lot of good nuggets in this book if you are in the hospitality industry. I work in food service at a Christian camp, so it's different from a restaurant environment, but a lot of things translated well across the different careers. I'm already changing and adjusting how I treat guests and employees from reading this book. I did feel Meyer got lost in the weeds a lot. He goes into to many details when telling his story of business that his points could get lost. I also thought he became ...more
Bryanna Tebbetts
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super insightful for anyone in the hospitality industry!
Jim Beatty
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Strangest book I've ever read the first and last third are horrible. The restaurant parts. The middle 3rd on the other hand is awesome, with McGregor and Covey like wisdom. Baffling.
Alan Teder
Corporate glossy version of the restaurant trade

This is pretty light on any of the blood and guts behind the scenes of the restaurant business but does have its points in terms of the psychology of customer interaction and the selection of employees for your business. Meyer's 51 percent rule of hiring people who bring a greater share of emotional skills vs a lower share of technical skills (which can in most cases be taught and learned) is something of wider use beyond the food business.

Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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 yo
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Anythinkers are reading this book to learn a new perspective on hospitality, and there is much here that is applicable across many industries. I found the behind-the-scenes anecdotes about building a restaurant almost as thrilling as the insights into hospitality, management, and business. The philosophies Danny Meyer presents are timeless, and many are at the core of what we do at our libraries - make people feel comfortable, feel like they're home. Much of what he shares in this book will stic ...more
Brett Gerlt
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book for the most part. It's really popular among the coffee industry and had been recommended to me several times. Danny gives an enormous amount of applicable advice throughout this book. I took a ton of notes and look forward to implementing some of his ideas in my own shop.

My only complaint is that there is a ton of name dropping and what comes across as humble bragging. It's very apparent that Danny comes from a fairly privileged family and his constant men
Mar 21, 2014 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 ho
Mahmoud Khoder
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Leslie Nord
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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."
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.
David Kibbe
Aug 18, 2010 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.
Tommy Kiedis
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Danny Meyer sets a table of ideas about hospitality and how to practice it. Meyer is a world-renowned restaurateur, but these are ideas for any organization or anyone who wants to learn how to deliver exceptional people-oriented service; hence his subtitle: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.

Initially, I felt chapter 1, "The First Course," his trip down memory lane, a bit pedantic. But the more I read the more I appreciated the historical context, a reminder the early years play a
DuskyHued LadySatan
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
i was given this book by the business investor-partner of the restaurant where i currently work bc he and the other owner/investors hero worship this dude and his whole 'hospitality' approach to business. frankly, they can have it. this guy name-drops like a true Manhattan-ite to try to gain credibility, brags about meeting his first chef while in a fist-fight with a customer over their preferred table, and generally comports himself as though he reinvented the wheel when it comes to restaurants ...more
I've always dreamed of eating at Danny Meyer's restaurants (but could only afford Shake Shack, which was a great experience). So the next best thing, I suppose, is to read his book about his experiences setting up these restaurants, which, at the time of writing, constituted Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Tabla (now defunct), Eleven Madison Park, Shake Shack, the Modern and the cafes at MoMa.

Kitchen Confidential is a behind the scenes book about working on the line.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Setting the Table ostensibly offers the reader insight about how focused customer-centric attention and sincere, deep hospitality can steer a business to success. Meyer intersperses several nuggets of advise through the story of how he went on to win the James Beard award for Outstanding Restauranteur. The nuggets suggest the reader to hire people with 51% “feeling”-oriented to focus on delivering quality service for users, communicate well because doing so is good hospitality, finding you cente ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Danny Meyer has created an extremely successful restaurant empire that includes restaurants as varied as The Modern (in MOMA), Union Square Cafe, Blue Smoke, and Shake Shack. In his book, he relates how he built his restaurant business and what he thinks the keys to success are.
While the author’s background is definitely in the restaurant and hospitality business, his outlook and his philosophy, not to mention the rules he has for his business, are applicable to all businesses (and non-pro
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Restaurant Success by the Numbers: A Money-Guy's Guide to Opening the Next Hot Spot
  • Jobs to be Done: Theory to Practice
  • Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football . . . Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas
  • The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy
  • Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar Inc.
  • The Art of the Restaurateur
  • The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
  • It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose
  • Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World
  • Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success
  • The Execution Factor: The One Skill That Drives Success
  • It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business
  • A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media
  • The World Atlas of Whisky: More Than 350 Expressions Tasted - More Than 150 Distilleries Explored
  • The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech
  • The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders
  • Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones
  • Leap First: Creating Work That Matters
See similar books…
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.
“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.”
“Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.” 6 likes
More quotes…