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​A Feast of Wisdom: A Review of Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

​A Feast of Wisdom: A Review of Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

Posted by Stelios on 25th Aug 2023

Danny Meyer is the founder and co-owner of an array of critically acclaimed restaurants, cafés, and other food-centric enterprises throughout New York City. He has co-authored several cookbooks, and Setting the Table marks his first best-selling book. Danny Meyer doesn't open restaurants. He opens institutions.

Who Should Read Setting the Table?

- Professionals in the hospitality sector

- Those aspiring to become restaurateurs

- Anyone managing people and dealing with clientele

What Is Setting the Table About?

In Setting the Table, renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer shares the secrets behind establishing an exceptional restaurant. Drawing from his journey to the pinnacle of the hospitality world, he highlights the transformative power of extraordinary hospitality and the remarkable success it can engender.


I chanced upon Setting the Table by Danny Meyer through a recommendation from a good friend. Initially, I questioned the relevance of a book written by a restaurant owner to my own business in technology. Astonishingly, the book proved extraordinarily applicable. Essentially, anyone engaged in the customer-centric company would benefit from the wisdom and insights Danny Meyer offers.

Autobiographical business books usually fail to keep my interest; they often devolve into self-indulgent tributes to the author's achievements. Meyer, however, maintains admirable impartiality, sharing victories, failures, and lessons learned. The overall tone is refreshingly authentic as if you're sharing a delightful dinner conversation with Danny Meyer himself, discussing the legacy of Union Square Hospitality Group.

While I took copious notes as I read, the following points struck a particular chord:

Problem-solving in Business: It's not about eradicating problems but finding inventive solutions. Danny Meyer elucidates this through an anecdote about an "off-centre salt shaker" taught by one of his mentors.

51 Percenters - Meyer advocates hiring people based 49% on technical skills and 51% on innate emotional skills for hospitality.

Planning for Success - Meyer asserts that it's crucial to anticipate the consequences of success, not just failure. A change in mindset can substantially alter the course and outcome of any business venture.

Significance of People: Meyer dedicates considerable text to the hiring, leadership, and management of people, a principle he believes applies to all businesses, irrespective of their size or domain.

Stakeholder Priorities - Meyer identifies five core stakeholders - employees, customers, community, suppliers, and investors - and advises prioritising them in that specific order.

As far as business literature goes, Setting the Table is indispensable. Its lessons are universally applicable, whether your enterprise is developing or established, in the hospitality sector or otherwise.

Setting the Table isn't merely a book; it's an experience that compels you to reevaluate your approach to business and life. It's a read I wholeheartedly endorse.