On Being ‘Unreasonable’

The FX series “The Bear” is available on the streaming service Hulu. In the opinion of your humble correspondent, it is one of the most compelling and best-crafted pieces of television in recent memory. And, it also happens to be one of the most accurate and powerful portrayals of the trials and tribulations of small business ownership. Watching any given episode calls back conversation after conversation we’ve had with Lincoln County entrepreneurs in our conference rooms. (Yup, here’s the inevitable plug for no-cost business advising. Register here any time. Might as well … your competition now doubt already has.) In one scene of the show, a book enters the frame: “Unreasonable Hospitality,” by Will Guidara. The author and a partner purchased Eleven Madison Park (EMP) and transformed, as Shortform says, the “so-so brasserie in the middle of Manhattan into the World’s Best Restaurant in 2017.”

Were the SBDC not about to launch our amazing new Restaurant Small Business Management Program, the book might well serve as an independent-study alternative to the program. There are countless takeaways that make this a book a must-read for any customer-focused business, of any type. And, for that matter, its lessons on human resources and financial recordkeeping extend its relevance across all types of operations and all levels of management. I considered rattling off a few key takeaways from the book here, but a quick Google search will deliver that for those interested. I would invite, however, anyone who has read or will read the book to contact me and talk about whether a roundtable conversation about some of Guidara’s ideas and how they might be employed by our small businesses here on the coast. We would be excited to facilitate such a conversation. Most of our clients don’t charge $1,000 for a meal for two (not unusual at EMP), so it’s natural to presume what works in Manhattan can never work near Moolack Beach. There’s something to that presumption, to be sure, but Guidara’s balanced tale of business creation, launch, and operation is full of takeaways as relevant here as there. 

Order your copy of the book at a local bookseller. Email Bob’s Beach Books here.