We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.
—Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533–1592)
You would expect a restaurateur to understand service, but Danny Meyer, founder of New York City's Union Square Cafe, one of America's most successful culinary restaurant organizations, goes further. “We are in a very new business era,” says Meyer in his book, Setting the Table. “I'm convinced that this is now a hospitality economy, no longer the service era. If you simply have a superior product or deliver on your promises, that's not enough to distinguish your business. There will always be someone else who can do it or make it as well as you. It's how you make your customers feel while using your products that distinguishes you…. Service is a monologue: we decide on standards for service. Hospitality is a dialogue: to listen to a customer's needs and meet them. It takes both great service and hospitality to be at the top.”1
Hospitality. How your customers feel. These concepts transcend the restaurant business and apply to all business in a world of HOW. Meyer is talking about an experience. In a dialogic society, answering the phone on the second ring or always having a smile on your face is no longer enough; a connected, transparent world now looks past the proxies of service and looks to how the companies and people with whom they do business engage and interact with them. Experience matters in a world where interrelationships ...