How to Turn Your Small Business Into an Empire

Restaurant guru Danny Meyer reveals secrets to succeed.
5:57 | 07/29/14

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Transcript for How to Turn Your Small Business Into an Empire
He is one of the most popular most respected names and food Danny Meyer was just 27 years old when he opened his first restaurant. Union square cafe right here in New York City but now nearly three decades later. He's created some of the most beloved eateries in the world. From shake -- to blue smoke to New York City -- -- now and Gramercy tavern and his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 25. James Beard awards. And top it all off he's also -- best selling author and an advocate. In the fight against hunger and I want to welcome Danny Meyer he is founder and CEO. -- union square hospitality here it's so nice to have you with us it's great to be here thank you you have such a huge rats and he really. Over the last three decades you've built all of this but I did wonder after all of that time. What would you do if you're starting out today for any of the inspiring people out there who say I want to be the Danny Meyer of the future. What's that first step they should be taking I would say get a better career path -- act. Actually I I think that if you start off. Looking at a big big big big goal it's less likely to happen and I think the first -- need to do is to ask yourself why am I in this business in the first place. I've always found that the restaurant business is great for people whose greatest pleasures making other people happy. If you can look yourself in the mirror and say I love food or loved one but more than anything else and love sharing that passion. With other people I think it's a great career. And it's all about having this is summing up what you making your books this is a point that you have made over the years customer service. Is so important. And you run so many different eateries strip the world after this you're leaving to start -- -- shake shack in Orlando. How do you keep that. Throughout all of the different franchises throughout all of the different eateries how do you keep that -- We didn't excuse me we have almost a maniacal focus on hospitality. And we really differentiate hospitality from service service is critically important. If you order your your -- you do you expect to get the right food delivered to the -- personal life kind of stuff. But hospitality -- a whole -- war which describes how did we make you feel the process. And whether we're serving burgers are par Ricky were black truffles if a modern -- say it. Ultimately all of it that way we really try to hire people whose greatest pleasure is making you feel even better than you felt when you came to the restaurant. And we are we -- justice focus on that as we are and how great the food tastes. If you look back on the building that you've done here. If you could go back in time and with the hindsight that you have now read you something do it differently what would that an eight. Well that's a great question that I I think I look -- all time I've you know I remember the first ten years of my career I have one restaurant union square cafe. We're in a day and age when everything happened so quickly and everybody is expected to expand you know the minute they open a new restaurant very very same morning in -- rolled out somewhere else. I don't think I would change I love the fact that for the first third of my career. I did one thing and so are really learn the business very very well I wasn't in rush and as a result of that I think that. We were able to you know attract better talent over the years. And I think better opportunities for a restaurant. It's no secret union square cafe is moving sadly closing its doors in union square because the red hot so -- you broke the -- -- about it. Is it more difficult do you think to start a business in today's climate than it was when -- began. I don't think it's any more difficult -- in fact I really believe that one of the great things about the restaurant business is to understand and appreciate that restaurants and real estate. -- really the exact same thing. So thirty years ago when I made a bet on this up and coming neighborhood action was even up and coming thirty years ago union square. It seemed like a big big risk and eight dollars a square foot. Turned into. Something more like 300 dollars a square foot over the years and you cannot continue to offer great. Guest value when you do that. So what's. My advice for somebody is make a bet on -- -- on -- neighborhood that you think has potential. See if you can get a mortgage and by the building so you're not in the same boat I'm in thirty years later revived real estate if you can but if you can buy the real -- make -- -- on yourself. You get to not only ride the wave of helping to make the neighborhood better. But you can and cash in for your investment in that neighborhood later which we've not been able to deal with union square cafe. Yes the new restaurant openings coming up in addition -- shake -- that people see in Orlando you also had its -- and porch light. Yes were opening march in a month and market is going to be a Roman pizza treachery of and we're so excited this is our team from -- -- you know. And we always look at the market we say what is it that we love that. -- we've always had to travel for but maybe we could bring to new York and have a great time with that Roman style pizza. We're just sort of like Neapolitan pizza but it's not pick on the edges it's just -- and all the way through. Is one of my favorite things on earth I cannot wait for. Porch -- is going to be. Our first ever bar with food we've opened a lot of restaurants -- bars and supports -- is going to be a southern accent and far and we're really excited about that you. -- always ask this of people in the food industry and that is what do you think is the next KOK Ellis kind of the big thing in having its moment right now what's next. My -- -- -- -- that if I knew that I make a big bad I used to hope it was Meyer lemons but I have lost that that -- -- that would work out -- with your name. Danny -- thank you so much we really appreciate it thank you are my best wishes and Orlando things.

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