Danny Meyer resigns as Union Square Hospitality Group CEO

Danny Meyer resigns as Union Square Hospitality Group CEO


Restaurateur Denny Meyer is stepping down as CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which he launched in 1985 with the opening of Union Square Cafe.

He will be succeeded by Chip Wade, who joined the restaurant conglomerate in 2019 after a 17-year stint with Red Lobster and its parent company Darden, according to a statement from Union Square Hospitality Group on Monday. Wade, 59, previously worked with Legal Sea Foods as well.

Meyer, a Missouri native, took a bite of the Big Apple when at 27, he opened the trendy Union Square Cafe. That led to future successes including the award-winning Gramercy Tavern and the Shake Shack chain.

Meyer will remain involved with the restaurant group he launched, serving as its executive chairman of the board. Wade will also join the board of directors.

“Starting this company 37 years ago — with aspirations to open just one successful restaurant — and seeing the outstanding and inspirational role our colleagues have come to play in our industry — has been the personal and professional joy of a lifetime,” Meyer said in the statement.

Among Meyer’s revolutionary ideas was introducing “Hospitality Included” pricing that substituted tipping with a higher menu price, which would lead to higher staff salaries. According to Meyer, at least one of his eateries — he had 13 at the time — reported record profits in the immediate aftermath of that 2015 initiative.

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The plan was repealed in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, which reshaped the hospitality industry nationwide.

“Following business closures and a 90% reduction in staff in 2020, Chip and Danny worked together to reopen and rebuild USHG’s restaurants,” Union Square Hospitality Group said in its statement released Monday. “Stronger than ever, the company is now surpassing pre-pandemic performance levels, paving the way for future growth.”



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