What It Means to Be Right – Key Learnings from The Welcome Conference

June 26th 2015

Mfa attended the second annual Welcome Conference at New York’s Times Center, an event dedicated to hospitality and hosted by Will Guidara (Made Nice, Eleven Madison Park) and Anthony Rudolf (Per Se,Journee). The stellar lineup of speakers, including Steve Ells (Chipotle), Sarah Robbins (21c Museum Hotels), Richard Betts (Master Sommelier), Daniel Humm (Made Nice, Eleven Madison Park), and Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group) among others, made for a day of thought-provoking conversations centered around the main theme: “What does it mean to be right?”

We left feeling inspired and armed with some words of wisdom that not only apply to the culinary and travel work that we do, but many aspects of working in a client service industry.

Saying yes (to guests and staff) is being right.
“Saying ‘no’ ends the conversation,” said Sarah Robbins, Senior Vice-President of Operations at 21c Museum Hotels. By constantly saying yes, staff members are empowered to make guests’ experience seamless and memorable. Saying yes requires listening and doing something new, which motivates everyone to make a difference and overcome challenges.

Being right is trying.
Richard Betts, Master Sommelier and Author of“The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert,” explained that everyone should try to have the best day every day, and do the things that they love doing. He also added that “to be a great leader, you need to learn how to be a good follower.”

Being right is being true.
Attica’s Banjo Harris Plane believes in purpose, standing firm and seeing that purpose through. In the hospitality industry, we need to ensure non-negotiables in service are perfectly executed. From there, you can showcase what makes you different and deliver an experience that’s an extension of your brand, staff and beliefs.

Being right is being understanding.
Tim Harris, owner of Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, NM explained that the heart of hospitality is understanding. If you never let guests leave your restaurant, hotel, or property unhappy, you will be successful.

Being right is irrelevant.
Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, talked about the excessive amount of time and energy spent trying to be right, when being right is the most dangerous shield in hospitality. Being right too often gets in the way of being generous. And generosity is the heart of the hospitality profession.

By Amelie Bruzat

About Amelie:
Amelie is an Account Supervisor on Mfa’s Travel and Culinary Team. She is proud to lead a team that excels at securing in-depth travel and food & beverage coverage in top tier travel and culinary publications while also reaching targeted consumers through integrated earned, owned, paid and shared campaigns. Growing up outside of Paris, she developed a strong love for food in France and is now eating her way through New York City and beyond. When not at the office, you can find her roaming around Smorgasburg or snowboarding in Vermont.

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