#665: Danny Meyer, Founder of Shake Shack — How to Win, The Art of The Graceful “No,” Overcoming Setbacks, The 6 Traits of Exceptional People, The 4 Quadrants of Performance, Lessons from Hospitality Excellence, and More
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Danny Meyer (@dhmeyer) is the founder and chairman of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which comprises some of New York’s most beloved and acclaimed restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, Maialino, and more. Danny and USHG also founded Shake Shack, the modern-day “roadside” burger restaurant, which became a public company in 2015.
Danny is the author of the New York Times bestseller Setting the Table, which articulates a set of signature business and life principles that translate to a wide range of industries. He is the recipient of the 2017 Julia Child Award and was named by Time magazine as one of 2015’s 100 most influential people. Danny and USHG’s restaurants and individuals together have won an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Restaurateur in 2005.
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[05:21] The meaning behind Maialino.
[08:58] Control vs. surprises.
[10:53] A pivotal conversation.
[19:46] Converting the cranky.
[22:16] ABCD: Always be collecting dots; always be connecting dots.
[25:35] Danny's first steps to chefdom.
[31:06] Being paid the worst to learn from the best.
[34:56] How business is like gardening.
[40:37] A virtuous cycle of stakeholders.
[43:57] The politely genuine decline.
[49:47] Six qualities Danny looks for when hiring.
[56:07] Work ethic lessons from Theo Epstein.
[1:03:19] Should they stay or should they go?
[1:13:37] Softly landing from a favorite failure.
[1:21:35] Taking on tipping culture.
[1:36:30] 51 percenters.
[1:38:04] Most gifted books.
[1:39:17] Seth Godin is a mensch.
[1:41:20] Danny's billboard.
[1:42:21] Hope vs. optimism.
[1:44:10] Parting thoughts.
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Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman, Dr. Jane Goodall, LeBron James, Kevin Hart, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Esther Perel, Elizabeth Gilbert, Terry Crews, Sia, Yuval Noah Harari, Malcolm Gladwell, Madeleine Albright, Cheryl Strayed, Jim Collins, Mary Karr, Maria Popova, Sam Harris, Michael Phelps, Bob Iger, Edward Norton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Neil Strauss, Ken Burns, Maria Sharapova, Marc Andreessen, Neil Gaiman, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Jocko Willink, Daniel Ek, Kelly Slater, Dr. Peter Attia, Seth Godin, Howard Marks, Dr. Brené Brown, Eric Schmidt, Michael Lewis, Joe Gebbia, Michael Pollan, Dr. Jordan Peterson, Vince Vaughn, Brian Koppelman, Ramit Sethi, Dax Shepard, Tony Robbins, Jim Dethmer, Dan Harris, Ray Dalio, Naval Ravikant, Vitalik Buterin, Elizabeth Lesser, Amanda Palmer, Katie Haun, Sir Richard Branson, Chuck Palahniuk, Arianna Huffington, Reid Hoffman, Bill Burr, Whitney Cummings, Rick Rubin, Dr. Vivek Murthy, Darren Aronofsky, Margaret Atwood, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Dr. Gabor Maté, Anne Lamott, Sarah Silverman, Dr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.