Video Transcript

00:12 Scott Gerber: What happens when you have to fix the perfect circle?

00:15 Danny Meyer: Well, there's no such thing as a perfect circle. And I think something that's really important to name is that enlightened hospitality is an ideal. You never get there. It's not a destination, but it's an ideal. And what it actually helps us with more than anything is when things don't do right and it helps us see where the mistake is made. If something doesn't feel like it went right, it's either because our staff members didn't do a great job of taking care of one another or we didn't do a great job of taking care of our guests or community or suppliers or our investors. As far as terminating people, that's a sad fact of business. That's never our first hope.

00:58 Meyer: But people make mistakes all the time and really, what we try to do when an employee makes a mistake of any type, other than one that lacks integrity, is to put it into one of two categories. Did the mistake get made because the person can't do something or because the person won't do something? If it is a situation that they can't do it, we may be more patient than many, many other businesses about trying to teach them. If they really have the desire, we will work like crazy, time and time again, to teach them, so that they can. If it's an "I won't do it" kind of problem, then I would say we turn up the heat and give people a choice. And to say, "You don't have a choice. If you're gonna work here, you don't have a choice of not doing it. So, if you can flip the switch in your own self and get to the point where you're willing to do it, we'll work with you like crazy to teach you how to do it. But if you choose not to, that's okay. You can't bring that attitude here."

02:10 Gerber: In a time though, what I would imagine, you get flooded with resumes and with people looking for a job, what makes the determination to say, "In a hiring environment like this, I'm gonna double-down on an employee?"

02:21 Meyer: Well, the first thing I would say is that, "I'm not looking at the next candidate, if you're already an employee." Once you're an employee, that's a lot different than three candidates that I'm trying to choose between. If there's three candidates, hopefully we're always gonna pick the one who is strongest both at the 49% technical skills and the 51% emotional skills. But once you're an employee, you're a member of a restaurant business family. And the loyalty that ensues when you can help someone who truly wants to get it right, to get over that hump, is just amazing. Like business partners who have been with me for many, many years, some of whom might not have made it in a less patient type of environment. And today I have people with rich experience, deep loyalties to our business and I wouldn't trade in that process for anything.