For Immediate Release
Contact: Charlotte Maguire
HOSPITALITY GURU DANNY MEYER EXCELS AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT
WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY THE ISENBERG SCHOOL’S
DEPARTMENT OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT
AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS - February 12, 2007 - “There’s a dramatic difference between service and hospitality,” Manhattan restaurateur and author Danny Meyer told several hundred students, faculty, and guests at a lecture on February 12 sponsored by the Isenberg School’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “You can write a descriptive manual that prescribes how to give a guest great service in twelve seconds. Hospitality, on the other hand, is all about how well someone makes you feel. With service, one size fits all; with hospitality one size fits one.”
Meyer’s presentation echoed themes in his recently published book, Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business (Reed Business Information). The author has exalted status on the New York City restaurant scene, where he is president of Union Square Hospitality Group and the founder and co-owner of eleven establishments, including Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café, ranked first and second in popularity among New York restaurants in the 2006 Zagat Survey.
Writing the book, Meyer told his audience, helped him to explain what he and his restaurants were doing successfully, albeit intuitively. “Almost no one talks about hospitality; no one defines what it is,” he emphasized. Not everyone has the right stuff to excel in hospitality, he insisted. Those who do have an innate gift. “They have a high HQ (hospitality quotient). Many of those traits are emotional and unteachable.” People with a high HQ naturally take pleasure in giving pleasure to others. There are also more specific traits—an optimistic glass-is-half-full outlook, intelligent curiosity, a strong work ethic, empathy, self-awareness, integrity, and the ability to thrive as part of a team.
Meyer’s premium on high-HQ personnel resonates throughout his restaurants, where his employees are valued as the top stakeholders, ahead of customers, suppliers, the community, and—at the bottom—shareholders. “We foster,” noted Meyer, “an environment that gives our employees what they want most: colleagues whom they enjoy working with, a business that listens to their aspirations, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. “Our stakeholder model works. It’s happening across the country,” he continued, citing Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines, Enterprise Leasing, Whole Foods, and the Container Store as examples.
Because Meyer’s venues are in Manhattan, (six alone within a five minute walk from his apartment), it is tempting to view his success as a New York story. Union Square Tokyo, scheduled to open this spring, should dispel that notion. “In our New York restaurants, we improvise well, almost like in jazz. The Japanese, on the other hand, are admired for their meticulous systems,” he remarked. “We expect a great cultural exchange with Union Square Tokyo.”
Meyer’s visit to campus was part of a one-day workshop organized for the New England Club Managers Association (NECMA) by the Isenberg School of Management’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) and the UMass Amherst student chapter of the Club Managers Association of America. The Isenberg School’s student chapter fosters student relations with the country and specialty club profession through field trips, internships, campus visits by industry practitioners, professional recruitment, and attendance at national conferences. Club management is one of five academic tracks in the HTM department’s undergraduate program.
The New England Club Managers Association (NECMA), the original chapter of the Club Managers Association of America, was established in 1914 and has since been a leader in the advancement of opportunities for private club managers, and foremost, students of the culinary and hospitality industries. NECMA has more than 230 members who manage more than 150 private clubs in the New England area. The purposes of the New England Chapter are to provide education to persons connected with the management of clubs and other associations of similar character, to promote and encourage efficient and successful club management, and to advance friendly relations among its members. For more information about NECMA, visit its web site at www.necma.org.
The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) is the professional Association for managers of membership clubs. Founded in 1927, CMAA provides career services, a lifetime professional development program and a national trade magazine, Club Management. With close to 7,000 members across all classifications, CMAA manager members run more than 3,000 country, golf, city, athletic, faculty, yacht, town and military clubs. The objectives of the Association are to promote and advance friendly relations among persons connected with the management of clubs and other associations of similar character; to encourage the education and advancement of its members; to assist club officers and members, through their managers, to secure the utmost in efficient and successful operations. CMAA hosts the World Conference on Club Management and Golf Industry Show annually; maintains a highly trafficked Web site — www.cmaa.org — containing club industry resources as well as a section for CMAA members only; researches, writes and develops textbooks, manuals and white papers on club management issues; and is involved in numerous industry-wide initiatives that advance the profession of club management and enrich the lives of its members.
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