From: Danny Meyer

Date: 1/11/2016

Subject: Kicking off 2016


Dear Colleagues,

Over the holiday season I was fortunate to spend some meaningful time away from work with friends and family, and that pause provided the opportunity to reflect upon what was a truly extraordinary year of accomplishment at USHG. Every one of you contributed so much to the story of 2015, and for that I am hugely grateful!

For the very first time we named our Family Values, clearly communicating the kinds of behaviors we expect from one another to support our culture of Enlightened Hospitality. 

We opened two new businesses in New York, one in Chicago, and we sunset Union Square Cafe at its home on 16th Street, soon to re-open on 19th Street. 

We also launched Hospitality Included at The Modern, a bold, industry-changing initiative that has become a widely debated topic of conversation all around the world. I can’t tell you how proud and gratified I am that USHG continues to be such an influential advocate for advancing professionalism in our industry.

We’re determined to build on that momentum in 2016. As you know, we are committed to rolling out Hospitality Included throughout each of our New York restaurants by the end of the year. Not because it will be easy, but because it is the right thing to do – leading with integrity and prioritizing our employees. We feel a responsibility to blaze a path for our industry in creating a more sustainable and economically just way of doing business – one that provides real financial and professional growth opportunities for every member of our team. This initiative has taken us into uncharted territory, and pioneering this path will certainly present us with new and unfamiliar scenarios.

We need to seize this opportunity to operate our businesses even more intelligently and profitably than ever in order to demonstrate that doing the right thing for each other is also good business.  I know we can do that!  To do so, each one of you will need to contribute every ounce of your professional experience and entrepreneurial spirit. Now is the time to keep asking, "who ever wrote the rule?!"  

We will demonstrate Hospitality Included is succeeding when we can confidently share with the world that the lives of our people, our guests, and our investors have all gotten better because we chose to embrace the initiative.

In the past year USHG has become a stronger, more cohesive family – unified in the pursuit of even more excellence, hospitality, entrepreneurial spirit, and integrity. I want to honor how far we've come – and challenge us to go further.  In the pursuit of continuing to get better and better, I want to encourage all of us to keep questioning the status quo, to keep going above and beyond to solve problems for our guests, and to keep exemplifying the fullest meaning of excellence and hospitality. Please help us, with your actions, to write more great chapters that inspire all who care about hospitality.

I'm so excited to get going with this New Year, and I thank you for choosing to share your abundant gifts with USHG!