Danny Meyer: “Constant, gentle pressure”.

Danny Meyer is considered by many as one of the most successful restaurateurs in the United States, if not the world. He is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, and The Modern, Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as Hudson Yards. His restaurants and chefs have earned an incredible 19 James Beard Awards, including: the first-ever Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Restaurant of the Year; Best Chef; Outstanding Service; Outstanding Wine Service; Humanitarian of the Year; Who’s Who of Food & Beverage; Best New Restaurant; Best Restaurant Design; and Best Graphic Design. (http://www.ushgnyc.com/_pdf/meyer_bio.pdf)

 

Meyer himself wholeheartedly agrees that this success could not have been achieved without what he refers to as: “Constant, gentle pressure”. This term is his preferred technique for not only leading, but also for guiding and coaching his followers, which now add up to approximately 1,400 employees. To him: “It’s the job of any business owner to be clear about the company’s nonnegotiable core values.” (http://www.inc.com/magazine/20061001/column-guest.html). He believes that as the leader of his company, he should instill and expect a level of excellence in all his employees and must never waver in the presence of negative, outside forces. When training his managers, he believes that he needs to be extremely specific as to what this level of excellence entails. He does recognize the presence of these outside forces, including the actual managers, which will conspire to alter this level of excellence. However, he assures them that he will constantly return to that desired level, but always in a gentle manner (dialogue, compromise and willingness to share power). Ultimately, in recognition of the importance of keeping his excellence standards, he will always apply the right amount of pressure in order to fulfill his strategic goals.