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Setting the Table December 16, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books, Reviews.
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Just by reading Setting the Table, it’s no wonder that Danny Meyer is successful as an enterprising restaurateur. Granted, that’s principally what the book is about; yet it’s how the book is put together that stands out — and may itself speak volumes about how he runs his businesses.

In part, it’s your standard business autobiography, which chronicles the beginnings of what would become the Union Square Hospitality Group and many of Meyer’s other adventures (and misadventures) in between. But it is equally a treatise on Meyer’s philosophy of enlightened hospitality as well, and thereby a primer of sorts on what should constitute excellent customer service. Further, the book also affords a cursory behind-the-scenes look into what goes on in the restaurant industry, one colorful anecdote at a time (such as his story about eggs daffodil; a real winner, that).

It’s true that there are many other books out there that cover the same ground; some may even be about running restaurants specifically, too. But while most do so individually, Meyer manages to convey what’s important about his story, his business philosophy and his experience from cover to cover, in such a way that Setting the Table is a satisfying read had one picked it up to learn about any one of those things, and all the more pleasantly surprising because of everything else the book has to offer.

Truly, isn’t that — the promise of getting exactly what you want, the excitement of coming across something new and different — what the restaurant business should deliver?

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