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5 Lessons from Will Guidara’s Book – Unreasonable Hospitality

Book Review - Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

Hospitality is for everyone

“When you create a hospitality-first culture, everything about your business improves—whether that means finding and retaining great talent, turning customers into raving fans, or increasing your profitability,” he writes.

Set lofty goals and bring your team along

Follow the “rule of 95/5”

“Manage 95 percent of your business down to the penny; spend the last 5 percent ‘foolishly.’ It sounds irresponsible; in fact, it’s anything but. Because that last 5 percent has an outsize impact on the guest experience, it’s some of the smartest money you’ll ever spend,” Guidara writes.

Share the credit

“It’s common for a leader to want the people on their team to see them as the ultimate authority figure and to box out their bosses as a result. That’s a lack of confidence, and it’s shortsighted … As a leader, you have to use every single tool in your kit to build morale and keep it high,” writes Guidara.

Look for inspiration in unlikely places

When Guidara and his former business partner, chef Daniel Humm, got one of their first reviews, the critic said the restaurant needed a bit of Miles Davis. This led Guidara down a rabbit hole of trying to interpret the meaning, and he ended up finding a treasure trove of unlikely inspiration.

“The more we learned about Miles and the approach he took to his work, the more inspired we became about how we wanted to approach ours … We had been looking for a way to put our ambitions and values into language, to find words for what we wanted to be. Researching Miles gave us eleven of them.”

Guidara settled on words commonly used to describe Davis, such as “adventurous,” “fresh,” “spontaneous,” and “vibrant,” to help move his business forward. Musical icons are an unexpected source of inspiration for a restaurant—but it goes to show that the best ideas can come from anywhere, and spur creativity and innovation in surprising ways.

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