Putting community in business: Danny Meyer’s ‘Setting the Table’

Over Christmas I’ve been reading a book about the restaurant business called ‘Setting the Table, by one of the most successful restauranteurs in America, Danny Meyer. It’s definitely worth reading if you’re in any way connected to the hospitality or service business. There’s a short video interview with Danny Meyer here. He says a lot of sensible things about how to move beyond just providing basic service into providing hospitality and making a closer connection with the individual customer. Anyway, one interesting thing about Meyer’s philosophy from an Internet point of view is the way he talks about community and business:

Invest in your community. A business that understands how powerful it is to create wealth for the community stands a much higher chance of creating wealth for its own investors. I have yet to see a house lose any of its value when a garden is planted in its front yard. And each time one householder plants a garden, chances are neighbors will follow suit. (p.114).

Amazon UK stocks the book for the European market; it’s quite widely available in the US.

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VoteTube » Daisy Girl

VoteTube » Daisy Girl

The ‘Peace, Little Girl’ ad, as it is also known marked the beginning of the modern political ad. At the time, no one had ever seen anything like it and the news programs showed it a number of times. It is interesting to think about what gives it its emotional strength  Allow me to quote from my own magnum opus:

The researchers referred to the well-known ‘Peace, little girl’ advertisement shown during the Lyndon B. Johnson?s presidential campaign against Barry Goldwater in 1964 as an example. It consisted of a picture of a young girl innocently counting the leaves of a daisy. When she has counted to nine, a male voiceover begins to count down, and the camera zooms in on the little girl?s face. When the count reaches zero, the little girl is replaced with a nuclear explosion, and the voice of Johnson, saying ?These are the stakes?to make a world in which all of God?s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die?.

The advertisement was supposed to be played only once. Such was the newsworthiness, however, that it was played twice more over that weekend by other networks and without payment. The fuss created and the replaying of the ad created a great deal of coverage for the campaign. In fact nowadays, some political campaigners in congressional elections simply make a controversial advertisement and send it to the local television stations, without paying for a spot at all. They depend on the editorial staff deciding to play it on the strength of its newsworthiness.

See also Wikipedia.

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