To revolutionize an industry, you have to cast off received wisdom. Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer knows this well. When he opened his first restaurant, received wisdom told him food was the star attraction. But Danny knew to focus on how customers FEEL. And it’s this feeling – Danny calls it “enlightened hospitality” — that he’s scaled. As he tells the dramatic scale story of Shake Shack, Danny shows how he cast off received wisdom and wrote his own rules.
After slashing his NYC restaurant team from 2,400 people to just 45 in the teeth of the pandemic, Danny Meyer has rebuilt Union Square Hospitality Group back to its former size. But in his fifth appearance on Rapid Response since Covid struck, Danny says he isn’t yet triumphant. With inflation creating fresh challenges even at Shake Shack, Danny shares lessons on the good and bad of leading through a crisis, plus explains why he’s handed off his CEO title — and where he finds inspiration to fuel new innovations.
“You have to preserve your energy; this year has been about pace,” says restaurateur Danny Meyer, as he catches us up on the past seven-plus months of operating in the midst of pandemic. In the beginning of summer 2021, when Covid rates were plummeting in New York City, he was full of optimism: His restaurants were back to indoor dining, and despite a limited workforce, “progress is progress.” Then came the Delta variant.
Danny Meyer knows the restaurant industry overall is teetering on the edge, desperate for federal help and active intervention to be able to return to the communities they once served.
After shutting his iconic New York City restaurants, laying off 2,000 staffers (with hopes to re-hire) and returning a $10m PPP loan in the early days of the pandemic, Danny Meyer finds himself reconsidering nearly everything about his business model.
Danny Meyer, head of Union Square Restaurant Group and the founder of Shake Shack, shares how and why he acted so quickly to initiate layoffs at the start of the pandemic.
For entrepreneurs and business leaders, the path to success is littered with traps. In this special episode of Masters of Scale, we go into the trenches with leaders from Google, Uber, LinkedIn, and more for inside stories on how to identify, decode, and surmount unexpected pitfalls — from organizational jams to overcommunication, from bloated meetings to bungled succession planning. Learn how to get out of, and avoid, these traps, for yourself and the entire organization.