Video: Restaurateur Danny Meyer Encourages Challenging the Status Quo

Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of video interviews from the Skift Take Studio, presented by KDS, that were filmed at last year’s Skift Global Forum.

During the 2017 Skift Global Forum in September in New York City, we heard from a host of the travel industry’s top leaders from across every sector.

And after first speaking to them on stage in front of an audience of more than 1,100, we took another few minutes with them to get more insight in our backstage Skift Take Studio.

Danny Meyer has a lot of good ideas. In addition to his role as CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group running a hugely successful group of New York City restaurants, he’s the brain behind Shake Shack and pioneered a new fair-wage structure at many his restaurants called Hospitality Included.

Given his experience in restaurants from fast food to fine dining, he has an especially informed perspective on how the restaurant business is evolving. “I think for many years chain restaurants ran the other way if they heard there was an independent guy coming and vice versa,” he said. “I think what’s happening is that we’ve converged. The chain guys have said we need to learn how to retrofit good taste. We need to learn how to work with our communities. We need to learn much more sophisticated sourcing of ingredients, more culinary technique. And the fine-dining guys have said we need to grow we need to learn how to scale.”

He’s also not shy about making big decisions, even if they’re counter to the status quo. “When you see that something’s not working for your staff or something’s not working for you, challenge it,” he said. “You even win points among the public for having gone first.”

Watch all the Skift Take Studio videos here.

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