Danny Meyer

Shake Shack founder; Customer Service and Hospitality Guru, Author, "Setting the Table"

Fee range: $50,000 to $100,000
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Danny Meyer

Shake Shack founder; Customer Service and Hospitality Guru, Author, "Setting the Table"


Having inspired so many industry leaders over the years (including us!), we were delighted for the opportunity to talk to Danny all about his secrets to success.

Director, Human resources

Setting the table: Creating Deep Customer Connections

The Power of Hospitality
Six Qualities of a Remarkable Hire


“Renowned New York City restaurateur and CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer is a serial entrepreneur and keynote speaker dedicated to developing customer relationships that lead to profound customer loyalty. Danny had the entrepreneur’s itch at the age of 27 and knew he had to open a restaurant. He didn’t think about what he wanted to do; he just did it. In a keynote speech that speaks to Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Hospitality, and Creating Deep Customer Connections, Danny shares with audiences the importance of developing empathetic leaders and highly functioning teams.

In any competitive industry, Danny asks, what do you have to do to make people crave your product? In his speeches, Danny refers to his restaurants as a “”food version of a retailer.”” In New York City with over 26,000 restaurant choices, Danny Meyer is challenged each day with selling a product that essentially nobody really needs. His recipe for success in any sales or customer-driven organization focuses on 2 things to make customers truly crave your product or service: Your product and Your hospitality.

Danny has proven that 51% of your recipe is Hospitality. And in a people-first model, it all starts with the talent you hire. Not just someone to fill the position, hire talent who has the emotional skills to actually be happier themselves when they make the customer happy. That employee needs to have a “”Hospitality Heart,”” a good work ethic, and a mind that tries to connect his heart with his thoughtful actions. In his engaging keynote speech Danny Meyer notes that in any industry we become essential in people’s lives when the very fact that we exist makes their lives better.

At the end of a meal when Danny’s waiters serve up the $250 bill, Danny tells his staff to pretend that 100% of that bill was for how I made you feel. The food was free. The drinks were free. A quote from Maya Angelou to help illustrate this point: People may forget what you said or what you did, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. It’s quite an impressive way to look at customer service and hospitality regardless of your industry.

When it comes to hiring and retention, Danny Meyer has key 6 qualities that he looks for in employees.

You are kind and optimistic. Skeptics do not care deeply about making other people feel better.
You have curious intelligence. Every day you look to learn something new. You care about learning.
You have a great work ethic. You care about doing that job as well as it can be done.
You have a high degree of empathy. You are aware of how you are making people feel as you go through life–and you care.
You have self-awareness. Knowing your own personal weather report on a given day. You’re not a bad person on a stormy day, but you need to know how your weather report is impacting others on our team. This is a TEAM sport and your weather report affects everyone on the team.
Integrity is a must. You need to have the judgment to do the right thing even when its not in your own self-interests and even when nobody else is looking.”

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