Setting the Table

By May 1, 2011blog

I read this AMAZING business book a couple months back by a great New York restauranteur, Setting the Table by Danny Meyers. He had the courage to be revealing about the in’s and outs of his very successful restaurants. I loved a couple of his themes that apply to most businesses (not just restaurants):
1. Start by bringing unique value to the community/customer base – he only opens restaurants that can bring something new and exciting to the NYC restaurant scene (no me-too’s)

2. Find a soulful source to draw inspiration and ideas from – he would travel with his partner-chefs to understand and encourage their cooking heritage
3. Plan to start with some flailing around before finding the sweet spot and working out the operational kinks – EVERY restaurant was a train-wreck to start with.
4. Being of service and connecting your community of customers is HUGELY valuable and fulfilling and still extremely rare – he fully engages in the local community on many levels
5. As success grows, stay focused on what is meaningful versus going big – with lots of offers to expand nationally, he chose to stay locally focused and great.
6. The more successful you are, the more people expect of you and the bigger the example you become (good or bad) for the press. – he learned to embrace the publicity rather than fight with it.
7. Connecting the dots between customers creates community (and value for customers). – he gets to know customers in his restaurants so he can make introductions to other customers and “connect the dots” of that local community. One of his restaurants became known as the place for publishers to eat and hang out as a result.
So as the title suggests, how are we “setting the table” of our businesses to engage more fully and authentically in the community they are creating?

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