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Danny Meyer    

Founder of Shake Shack; Leadership Speaker & Employee Wellness Advocate

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Danny Meyer grew up in a family that relished great food and hospitality. Thanks to his father’s travel business, which designed custom European trips, Meyer spent much of his childhood eating, visiting near and far-off places, and sowing the seeds for his future passion. In 1985, at the age of 27, Meyer opened his first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, launching what would become a lifelong career in hospitality.

Thirty years later, Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) comprises some of New York’s most beloved and acclaimed restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, Maialino, and more. Meyer and USHG founded Shake Shack, the modern-day “roadside” burger restaurant, which became a public company in 2015. USHG also offers large-scale event services, foodservice solutions for public and private institutions, industry consulting, and educational programming.

Under Meyer’s leadership, USHG is renowned not only for its acclaimed restaurants but also for its distinctive and celebrated culture of Enlightened Hospitality. This guiding principle of prioritizing employees first and foremost has driven and shaped USHG’s ongoing evolution from a small group of restaurants into a multi-faceted hospitality organization.

Meyer and USHG’s diverse ventures have added to the hospitality dialogue in many contexts including dining options in museums, sports arenas, and cultural institutions, as well as prescient investments in burgeoning neighborhoods. USHG launched a pioneering initiative to eliminate tipping throughout its New York restaurants. This new way of business, called Hospitality Included, is designed to compensate the restaurant team more equitably and professionally while providing clear paths for professional advancement.

Meyer’s groundbreaking business book, Setting the Table, a New York Times Bestseller, articulates a set of signature business and life principles that translate to a wide range of industries. A celebrated speaker and educator, Meyer has set industry standards in areas such as hiring practices, innovative leadership, and corporate responsibility and addresses a wide range of audiences on such topics around the country.

Meyer has been generously recognized for his leadership, business achievements, and humanitarianism, including the Julia Child Award, the TIME 100 “Most Influential People” list, the Aspen Institute Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership, the NYU Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City, and the IFMA Gold Plate Award. Together, Meyer and USHG’s restaurants and individuals have won an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Restaurateur and Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.

Meyer and his wife, Audrey, live in New York City and have four children.


Danny Meyer says there will soon be no need to tip at his New York ...
Soon, when you visit some of New York's most acclaimed restaurants, you'll be able to pay your tab without leaving a little something extra, guilt-free.
Danny Meyer ditches tipping at all his restaurants | New York Post
Tough tipping decisions like 15 or 20 percent and doing it pre- or post-tax will soon no longer be necessary at Danny Meyer's eateries — because he wants to  ...
Danny Meyer bringing BBQ to some Delta flights | Crain's New York ...
The airline will serve meals designed by the restaurateur's Blue Smoke eatery.
A Look at Danny Meyer, the Restaurateur Behind Union Square ...
Danny Meyer, trim as a track star and turned out in a dark gray suit despite the summer swelter, steps just outside Union Square Cafe, his landmark New York ...

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