Education sessions at the American Booksellers Association's Third Annual Winter Institute (Wi3) will kick off on Friday morning, January 25, with plenary speaker Danny Meyer, renowned restaurateur/entrepreneur and author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business (HarperCollins).
Meyer is the president of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke, and Jazz Standard, among others. Each is a distinctive restaurant, distinguished by warm hospitality and consistence excellence.
"Dine at one of Danny's restaurants, and you'll see why they are so highly regarded for customer service and hospitality," said ABA Education Director Len Vlahos. "We're really excited that our members will have a chance to benefit from his experience and expertise."
In Setting the Table, which is part business book, part memoir, and part peek behind the restaurant curtain, Meyer shares what he has learned about striving for and sustaining excellence in the workplace.
At Wi3's opening session, he will focus on what it takes to provide excellent customer service. Meyer will show why service and hospitality are not synonymous and explain how to do each well. He will also offer insights about philanthropy and community outreach and why they make good business sense.
In 1985, Meyer, who studied cooking in Italy and France in the early 1980s, launched Union Square Cafe, a new kind of American eatery that paired imaginative food and wine with caring hospitality, comfortable surroundings, and outstanding value. The cafe has been honored with a New York Times three-star rating twice and has been voted Zagat Survey's Most Popular Restaurant in New York City for seven years. Following the success of the cafe, Meyer opened the Gramercy Tavern in 1994 and Eleven Madison Park and Tabla in 1998. His Union Square Hospitality Group is considered one of the most successful hospitality organizations in the U.S.
In 1994, Meyer and chef Michael Romano co-authored the Union Square Cafe Cookbook (HarperCollins), which won the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Julia Child Award for the best new cookbook by a first-time author. The book was followed up with Helpings From Union Square Cafe (HarperCollins).
Meyer was recently named one of New York magazine's most influential New Yorkers of 2006.