Video Transcript

00:13 Scott Gerber: So when you talk about folks making mistakes, it seems in your philosophy you're trying to teach them how to think, and not necessarily what to think. Not a manual, but more of an understanding of what's going on, more situational thinking, etcetera. What are the five As and what ultimately are you trying to utilize this principal to make your staff better? Why do it?

00:31 Danny Meyer: Well, we believe first of all that, that human beings are probably the animal on earth best designed for mistake making compared to any other animal there is. So once you accept that mistakes are part of what we do, part of what we were designed to do by however we got designed, then you can do one of two things. You can either try to deny it, run away from it, avoid it, or you can say, "What if we could end up in a better spot because of all this mistake making than if the mistakes never happened in the first place." When you do make a mistake, we do have a philosophy, which we call the five As, which is first be aware you made it. If you're not aware, you're nowhere.

01:16 Meyer: Number two, acknowledge it. Number three, apologize for it. Number four, act on it. And number five, apply additional generosity. And we have found time and time again, this happens all day long, because again, restaurants just like everything else in life are just a series of mistakes. If anything, in our business, mistakes can feel more emotional because the whole act of being fed and eating in a restaurant is something that people associate with either being provided with or denied love. And so you'd be surprised how too much salt on a steak or under-cooking it or over-cooking a hamburger can be taken very, very personally by people. So its critically important that we do those five As. And when we do, we actually end up generally, in a much better spot than if the mistake had never been made in the first place.

02:12 Gerber: So let's use a tangible example. So let's just say for argument's sake somebody has show tickets, forgot that their show is an hour earlier, and they booked their reservation around the same time of when the show now starts. Is that the restaurant's responsibility to try to create still that same experience, change the reservation on the same day when perhaps it's parents on their night out? Or is it, "Sorry, you have tickets, you have to make a choice".

02:33 Meyer: Yeah. It's not the restaurant or any business's responsibility, but it's our opportunity. And, and basically what we look at, I say this a lot to our team is that mistakes are a lot like waves in the ocean for a surfer which is that there's always gonna be another one, the only thing you don't know is how big it's gonna be or what the timing is. But the goal of a surfer is not to try to tame the ocean of its waves, the goal of a surfer is to not get knocked off his or her surfboard, by the same wave that's knocking everybody else off theirs.

03:11 Meyer: So when I learn about that mistake that somebody else made because they didn't check the time properly, it's not relevant to me whose fault it is, any more than its relevant to me why that wave is so big. The only thing that's relevant to me is what can we do with that to distinguish ourselves as champions. And that's the kind of story that, if you look at that as an opportunity, these people are going to tell that story for the rest of their lives. Why not be on the winning side of it?