When it comes to restaurant culture, owners, guests and staff want to know, "what's the secret ingredient" in Mama's cooking; or in ramen. Restaurant owners ask specifically for the secret ingredient in the CULTURE of a place”. This is the question I posed of Erin Moran. She is Chief Culture Officer at Union Square Hospitality Group--Danny Meyers' company. We had a short interview on company culture. Here are the nuggets from our conversation.
IS THERE A SECRET INGREDIENT THAT MAKES CULTURE WORK?
"First of all, no, there isn’t a secret ingredient.
"We are often asked a slightly different question, “how do you make culture happen?" To us, there is an intentional design of the restaurant experience."
"For the guest, we are seeking the answers to: What does it feel like when you walk in the door? What does it feel like to choose your table? What does it feel like to sit down? What does it feel like to be greeted by the staff? What does it feel like to have staff serve you all meal long?"
"On the staff experience side, culture starts when they apply. What does it feel like when you apply? What does it feel like when you get the news that you are invited in for an interview? What did it feel like to be in training, on your first day."
"Also, another thing, about culture? IF it is intentionally planned, then you get what you want. Conversly, if you don't plan culture, it still happens, just not what you may have had in mind. So create the culture you WANT, not the culture you GET. What is the outcome you want? Start there, and create the guest experience for the hiring process to the hospitality your give."
Thank you, Erin, for letting me talk with you. Thank you for raising the barre for restaurants, and bars in todays food landscape, here in the US. It's a pleasure to hear, first hand, your definitive understanding of culture.