Will Guidara is an American restaurateur based in New York City. Will co-owned the Make It Nice hospitality group, established in 2011, which owns and operates Eleven Madison Park, NoMad New York, NoMad Los Angeles, NoMad Las Vegas, NoMad Bar and Made Nice. Will is also the co-author of four books with Humm: Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook (Little Brown, 2011), I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes (Ten Speed, 2013), The NoMad Cookbook, and Eleven Madison Park: the Next Chapter. Along with Anthony Rudolf, Will is the co-founder of the Welcome Conference, an annual hospitality-focused symposium launched in 2014. He is also a founding member of the New York City Dining Room Collaborative and has been a guest speaker at the 92nd Street Y, Mistura and Mesamerica culinary festivals, Google, Cornell University, and The Culinary Institute of America.

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  • Sustaining excellence =
    • Everyone has the capacity for excellence
      • Hard work
      • Giving a lot of yourself to something — A” passion for the thing you’re excellent at doing.”
      • The nobility of service
      • It requires getting up on a day when you’re tired and not feeling it
        • “You need to be on even when you feel off”
  • The “pre-shift” meeting — “As a leader, you have a responsibility to share what inspires you.”
    • “Everyone craves affirmation.”
  • Lessons from his Mom:
    • She became a quadriplegic when Will was nine
      • You can talk things into existence – Will’s mom said she wanted to stay alive until he graduated college. And she did it by one day. Doctors said she should have died when Will was 12.
        • “What would you attempt to do if you could not fail?”
      • The power of non-verbal communication.
      • Integrity in the face of adversity – Life is not always awesome. There’s always ups and downs. Perspective is key.
  • Eleven Madison Park – Setting the goal to be the #1 rated restaurant in the world. In 2010, they were #50.
    • Seven years later, they were #1.
  • “You need to love what you’re doing to be great at it.”
  • There is power in having extraordinary intention
  • Strategic planning —
    • Be specific and actionable
    • Have endless reinvention
    • Be willing to take risks
  • “Unreasonable Hospitality”
    • You need to decide what you want to embody
  • “Business like life is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple and that hard.” – Danny Meyer
  • Hiring:
    • “We hired dream weavers from art schools, designers…”
    • Experiential design separated them from the rest
  • Be present
    • Listen to what is being said and what’s not being said. Engage with people. Serve them. Meet them where they are.
  • “Hospitality is one size meets one” – Have to meet them one at a time
  • What’s the secret to a happy marriage?
    • “Never stop pursuing each other”
  • Ruth’s Chris – The special calamari strips — Not on the menu, but available to make an experience exceptional
  • The nobility of service… The four words:
    • Hospitality
    • Excellence
    • Education – “A day you aren’t learning isn’t a day worth living”
    • Passion – “Our work matters. What we do matters.”
  • Meeting at The White House:
    • Restaurants during the pandemic
  • His dad’s advice — “Adversity is a terrible thing to waste”
  • “It’s not what happened to you, it’s how you respond.”
    • “Through crisis comes community”
  • The Welcome Conference
    • “Hospitality is just as much a craft as cooking.”
  • Will’s dad is his hero
    • “Next level intense responsibility”
    • He never complained
    • “Name what you want to accomplish and do it”
  • “The secret to happiness is always something to look forward to.”
  • Here is WHY joining a Learning Leader Circle is a good idea…


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