In 1985, at age 27, Danny launched Union Square Cafe in New York City. Danny Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, and his restaurants and their chefs have earned an unprecedented seventeen James Beard Awards. He is the coauthor of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe, and Setting the Table, and he lives in New York City.
Question: What keeps you up at night?
Danny Meyer: Why not be literal about it? I think the things that keep me up at night are the responsibility that I feel towards the people who sign up to work with me. As we grow as an organization, it’s really growing how many human beings are producing our restaurants. If you go to Union Square Cafe or Tabla or Shake Shack or the Modern Tonight, and you have any kind of an experience, I hope it will be a great one. But that experience will be a direct result of the performance of the human beings who work there. And their performance will be a direct result of how happy they are working there and how productive they feel and how jazzed they feel, in terms of the colleagues that they work with. How well we’ve helped them learn and prepare for their job. When we let our own employees down, in any way shape or form-- that keeps me up at night because I know that that’s going to immediately translate to our employees letting down our guests.
Recorded on September 17, 2009