From: Danny Meyer

Date: 6/16/2015

Subject: "Looking Ahead"

Dear Colleagues,

This week marks the first time in over six years that I’ve come to work without Jeff Flug by my side as USHG’s President. I’m excited for Jeff and his future adventures, and I’m equally excited for our next chapters at USHG.  I’ve never been more confident and jazzed about where we’re headed, and it’s important to me that you understand our business priorities and future goals so you can be clear about our vision. 

Following a year in which we will have opened five new businesses – Marta, Porchlight, Untitled and Studio Cafe, and soon USE in Chicago – you should know that 2016 will primarily be a year to further strengthen our foundation. As you learned from Our Playbook, we are committed to growing in order to advance our culture, and yet this next period of growth will come primarily from investing in our people and existing businesses, our community, and perhaps even in businesses created outside USHG that exemplify Enlightened Hospitality. 

Union Square Cafe

First and foremost, our very top priority is to find a new home for Union Square Cafe.  After a year of searching just about every corner of our Union Square neighborhood, we seem at last to be closing in on a site that could work incredibly well.  Fingers and toes are crossed that we can make it happen.  And if we do, we will be able to begin the next chapter of USC during Spring, 2016. 

Investing in our People

Our people are among our greatest strengths and much of our work this coming year will be focused on investing in the careers of those that work with USHG. This means providing expanded training for all of our team members and additional coaching and learning opportunities for our leaders. We are improving our training curriculum, mentor program, and career coaching program in order to ensure you have the resources to truly achieve Excellence.

Investing in our people also means addressing compensation, particularly for our kitchen colleagues. In most every industry, there tends to be a wage gap favoring those who sell products over those who manufacture them, but in our industry that gap has grown too wide. It’s time for our industry to figure out how to provide sounder financial footing for those that have chosen to pursue a career in the kitchen, and I want USHG to figure out how to lead the way.  To do so, we will need to tap into our collective Entrepreneurial Spirit (that means you!) to help find a solution that will address this issue – even if means overcoming arcane traditions and complex laws.

Investing in Opportunities

USHG will continue to invest in ideas and opportunities that embody our Family Values. We will seek to identify technologies that advance service, hospitality and profitability, as well as partnering with people or businesses that embody our philosophy of Enlightened Hospitality. Our commitment to you is to ensure any opportunity is additive, and that it will contribute to further learning and advancement for our people.

Investing in our Communities

We start the summer off strong, with Maialino’s 2nd annual Hole in the Wall Gang Camp benefit dinner tonight, an event that raised over $300,000 last year for an incredible cause close to the hearts of USHG and our team. And we’ll end it in style, when North End Grill again hosts our annual Autumn Harvest Dinner in September. Our Community Council is in its 2nd year and already has plans for a number of meaningful events during the course of the year that will provide an opportunity for our team members to volunteer.

The above goals are ambitious, and I know that collectively we can achieve them. I have been fortunate to participate in a number of conversations with many of you during Our Playbook discussions. I’ve heard you asking tough questions. I've seen you holding yourselves, your teams, and our businesses accountable to our Family Values. And I've watched as you've created legendary raves: for our guests, for our communities, and most importantly, for each other. 

We are more committed than ever to improving and growing our businesses so that you can continue to build your hospitality career here at USHG. 

See you soon!