Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

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Steve L Gellman
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Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#1 Post by Steve L Gellman » July 30th, 2019, 12:49 pm


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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#2 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » July 30th, 2019, 1:11 pm

Info posted yesterday.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#3 Post by WvanGorp » July 30th, 2019, 4:13 pm

It was destined to happen.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#4 Post by M Emery » July 30th, 2019, 6:35 pm

WvanGorp wrote:
July 30th, 2019, 4:13 pm
It was destined to happen.
Perhaps could could clarify why you know it was destined to happen?
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#5 Post by WvanGorp » July 31st, 2019, 5:22 am

When Daniel first came to NY he barely spoke English. (The reason they named their company make it nice is that’s about all he knew to say in English when he arrived). Also he didn’t know American culture well. He was ambitious. To achieve his goals he needed someone who could help him speak and help write and edit his book he wanted to do. He needed help communicating with the staff and on and on and on. Will was there and was very capable—the perfect person to help him. But at a certain point Daniel acquired the knowledge fluency and skills he needed. So why should he share both control and profits with someone else? Without Daniel there is no Make It Nice. Not to detract from Will but he’s not essential for the company. There are 1,000 Will’s in a sense

So this day was bound to happen sooner or later. And happen it did.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#6 Post by scamhi » July 31st, 2019, 5:47 am

great analysis Wilfred.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#7 Post by Robert Dentice » July 31st, 2019, 6:53 am

WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 5:22 am
When Daniel first came to NY he barely spoke English. (The reason they named their company make it nice is that’s about all he knew to say in English when he arrived). Also he didn’t know American culture well. He was ambitious. To achieve his goals he needed someone who could help him speak and help write and edit his book he wanted to do. He needed help communicating with the staff and on and on and on. Will was there and was very capable—the perfect person to help him. But at a certain point Daniel acquired the knowledge fluency and skills he needed. So why should he share both control and profits with someone else? Without Daniel there is no Make It Nice. Not to detract from Will but he’s not essential for the company. There are 1,000 Will’s in a sense

So this day was bound to happen sooner or later. And happen it did.
It will be interesting to see what happens now. I don't know too many Chefs that can understand the business side.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#8 Post by T. Melloni » July 31st, 2019, 7:40 am

I have only been to EMP two times, with each a memorable and wonderful experience. Food, service, atmosphere - all fantastic.
Daniel Humm was gracious and kind, even providing a short tour of the kitchen for me and my teenage kids on a busy Saturday evening.
I look forward to returning some day.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#9 Post by WvanGorp » July 31st, 2019, 7:56 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 6:53 am
WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 5:22 am
When Daniel first came to NY he barely spoke English. (The reason they named their company make it nice is that’s about all he knew to say in English when he arrived). Also he didn’t know American culture well. He was ambitious. To achieve his goals he needed someone who could help him speak and help write and edit his book he wanted to do. He needed help communicating with the staff and on and on and on. Will was there and was very capable—the perfect person to help him. But at a certain point Daniel acquired the knowledge fluency and skills he needed. So why should he share both control and profits with someone else? Without Daniel there is no Make It Nice. Not to detract from Will but he’s not essential for the company. There are 1,000 Will’s in a sense

So this day was bound to happen sooner or later. And happen it did.
It will be interesting to see what happens now. I don't know too many Chefs that can understand the business side.

This one can.

Btw Will doesn’t have a background or degree in business. His degree is in hospitality and hotel management from Cornell. It’s not a business degree.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#10 Post by Steve L Gellman » July 31st, 2019, 9:16 am

WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 7:56 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 6:53 am
WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 5:22 am
When Daniel first came to NY he barely spoke English. (The reason they named their company make it nice is that’s about all he knew to say in English when he arrived). Also he didn’t know American culture well. He was ambitious. To achieve his goals he needed someone who could help him speak and help write and edit his book he wanted to do. He needed help communicating with the staff and on and on and on. Will was there and was very capable—the perfect person to help him. But at a certain point Daniel acquired the knowledge fluency and skills he needed. So why should he share both control and profits with someone else? Without Daniel there is no Make It Nice. Not to detract from Will but he’s not essential for the company. There are 1,000 Will’s in a sense

So this day was bound to happen sooner or later. And happen it did.
It will be interesting to see what happens now. I don't know too many Chefs that can understand the business side.

This one can.

Btw Will doesn’t have a background or degree in business. His degree is in hospitality and hotel management from Cornell. It’s not a business degree.
Part of the charm of EMP was its hospitality

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#11 Post by Mike Cohen » July 31st, 2019, 9:40 am

It will be a fascinating experiment to see which person is more important. The Chef or the Hospitality Guy.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#12 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » July 31st, 2019, 9:58 am

WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 5:22 am
There are 1,000 Will’s in a sense
Wilfred,

While obviously the chef is the most important component of a restaurant, I think you are undervaluing the importance of the FoH personnel. I don't think EMP becomes "EMP" without Will the same way I don't think Marea becomes "Marea" without Rocky.
I know several people whose connection with EMP is Will, not Daniel. Will they still dine at EMP? Probably, but I would also bet they become more regular diners at Will's new venture(s) on the assumption he has a good/great chef working with him.
Last edited by R@y.Tupp@+sch on July 31st, 2019, 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#13 Post by Hank Victor » July 31st, 2019, 10:57 am

Btw Will doesn’t have a background or degree in business. His degree is in hospitality and hotel management from Cornell. It’s not a business degree.

Cornell is the #1 Hospitality & Tourism management degree in the United States. If I need somebody to run my restaurant I am taking that degree over a general business degree from another school.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#14 Post by Robert Dentice » July 31st, 2019, 12:37 pm

Danny Meyers net worth is estimated to be $400mm. Chef Thomas Keller is estimated to be $30mm.

I have no idea what happened but my guess is that Will wanted to follow the trend of what is working in the restaurant world today which is higher volume, lower cost and not fine dining. The reason why Danny Meyer essentially gave Eleven Madison Park away.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#15 Post by Chris S p i k e s » July 31st, 2019, 4:32 pm

Robert Dentice wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 12:37 pm
Danny Meyers net worth is estimated to be $400mm. Chef Thomas Keller is estimated to be $30mm.

I have no idea what happened but my guess is that Will wanted to follow the trend of what is working in the restaurant world today which is higher volume, lower cost and not fine dining. The reason why Danny Meyer essentially gave Eleven Madison Park away.
Fine dining is for the artist who wants to make a living. Perhaps a really good living, but at least a nice monetary return for the artistic creations.

Mass dining with low margins that can be multiplied out is the place to make significant money and likely safer. High end creative chefs don't like that. Business oriented people love it.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#16 Post by WvanGorp » July 31st, 2019, 8:07 pm

You guys are assuming Daniel doesn’t have knowledge and sensitivity to FOH issues or hospitality. I believe that’s in error.

I adore Will and regard him as a good friend. But who had the idea of the card trick? Will. Who had the idea of the one word menu cards? Will. There are other examples. For all his strengths Will had some colossal misses.

Just because he’s a chef you guys I believe are making two key errors in reasoning:

That Daniel doesn’t have sufficient awareness or sensitivity to ensure top FOH and hospitality and

That Daniel can’t hire someone on salary (as Will was, remember, for quite some time) to also create a great FOH experience with wonderful hospitality. Remember hospitality existed long before Will was hired.

Say what you will. The scenario played out exactly as I had anticipated. Hard to argue with that.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#17 Post by M Emery » July 31st, 2019, 8:17 pm

Wilfred. Thanks for the info
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#18 Post by Andy Steinman » July 31st, 2019, 10:55 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 10:57 am
Btw Will doesn’t have a background or degree in business. His degree is in hospitality and hotel management from Cornell. It’s not a business degree.

Cornell is the #1 Hospitality & Tourism management degree in the United States. If I need somebody to run my restaurant I am taking that degree over a general business degree from another school.
This! Our FOH Operating Partner (for Le Pigeon, Little Bird and Canard) is a graduate of the Cornell program and has great hospitality management knowledge and is an outstanding business person. Without his business skills, we would not be where we are today.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#19 Post by fred o. » August 1st, 2019, 3:04 am

Robert Dentice wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 12:37 pm
Danny Meyers net worth is estimated to be $400mm. Chef Thomas Keller is estimated to be $30mm.

I have no idea what happened but my guess is that Will wanted to follow the trend of what is working in the restaurant world today which is higher volume, lower cost and not fine dining. The reason why Danny Meyer essentially gave Eleven Madison Park away.
I guess we won't know until more details are divulged about what each wanted and why exactly they split, but at this point that sounds very speculative to me about Will Guidara's wants, or at least grossly simplifying what's likely a complicated situation, even if it does turn out to be true.
Even if Danny Meyer "gave away" EMP to DH/WG, Danny Meyer still has a prominent stake in lower volume/higher cost fine dining; places like the Modern, Maialino are much closer to EMP in style, feel and ambition (and wine lists) than they are to Shake Shack. You make it sound like he left fine dining completely when I know you know that's not the case.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#20 Post by fred o. » August 1st, 2019, 3:17 am

WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 8:07 pm
You guys are assuming Daniel doesn’t have knowledge and sensitivity to FOH issues or hospitality. I believe that’s in error.

I adore Will and regard him as a good friend. But who had the idea of the card trick? Will. Who had the idea of the one word menu cards? Will. There are other examples. For all his strengths Will had some colossal misses.

Just because he’s a chef you guys I believe are making two key errors in reasoning:

That Daniel doesn’t have sufficient awareness or sensitivity to ensure top FOH and hospitality and

That Daniel can’t hire someone on salary (as Will was, remember, for quite some time) to also create a great FOH experience with wonderful hospitality. Remember hospitality existed long before Will was hired.

Say what you will. The scenario played out exactly as I had anticipated. Hard to argue with that.
I don't think the above posts were assuming that Daniel Humm had no understanding of FOH issues/hospitality. I think the umbrage was against what you were posting, that made it seem like Daniel Humm was the only essential part of their partnership and that Will Guidara was a fungible/replaceable piece, used for a time and then discarded when convenient. That's frankly insulting to the complexity and difficulty of what they accomplished as a team/pair, IMO, and parts of what you write seem to be more arrogant than anything ("the scenario played out exactly as I had anticipated" -- OK, here's a cookie, perhaps milk and honey :p, for you...).

For what it's worth, I've never been to EMP, and have never met either personally. I only know that in multiple visits to the Nomad in LA and a couple to the ones in Vegas and NY, what struck me most wasn't the food (which sometimes was refined and creative, other times wildly inconsistent and pedestrian), but instead what lingered in my memory was the quality of the service, and the uniqueness of things like the style, ambiance, cocktails/drinks and wine lists. We stayed at the Nomad for a special occasion and had several very special meals there, and the staff gave us exceptional service even when we presented difficult situations (larger party walking in late at night, etc.). I know of at least one other board member who had a very special personal event in his life that the staff at the Nomad were very generous in accommodating. It's those types of things that make me respect and frankly love the brand of hospitality that Will Guidara really cared about, and why I'll look forward to following what he does in the future with great interest.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#21 Post by Robert Dentice » August 1st, 2019, 7:49 am

fred o. wrote:
August 1st, 2019, 3:04 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 12:37 pm
Danny Meyers net worth is estimated to be $400mm. Chef Thomas Keller is estimated to be $30mm.

I have no idea what happened but my guess is that Will wanted to follow the trend of what is working in the restaurant world today which is higher volume, lower cost and not fine dining. The reason why Danny Meyer essentially gave Eleven Madison Park away.
I guess we won't know until more details are divulged about what each wanted and why exactly they split, but at this point that sounds very speculative to me about Will Guidara's wants, or at least grossly simplifying what's likely a complicated situation, even if it does turn out to be true.
Even if Danny Meyer "gave away" EMP to DH/WG, Danny Meyer still has a prominent stake in lower volume/higher cost fine dining; places like the Modern, Maialino are much closer to EMP in style, feel and ambition (and wine lists) than they are to Shake Shack. You make it sound like he left fine dining completely when I know you know that's not the case.
3 star dining at the level of Eleven Madison is an entirely different business than even the 2 star Modern.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#22 Post by Barry L i p t o n » August 1st, 2019, 8:04 am

It’s amazing that someone will start attacking probably the only poster who really knows both Will and Daniel and can honestly consider them friends.

FOH magic isn’t unique. The realized vision of a world class chef is. How that can be interpreted as insulting is beyond me.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#23 Post by Mike Cohen » August 1st, 2019, 9:34 am

fred o. wrote:
August 1st, 2019, 3:04 am
Even if Danny Meyer "gave away" EMP to DH/WG, Danny Meyer still has a prominent stake in lower volume/higher cost fine dining; places like the Modern, Maialino are much closer to EMP in style, feel and ambition (and wine lists) than they are to Shake Shack. You make it sound like he left fine dining completely when I know you know that's not the case.
Hey Fred,

I think I might look at Danny Meyer's empire a bit differently...I feel like USHG moved away from the celebrity chef/fine dining model towards a model based more on solid food (less chef driven) combined with world class service. I know that's a big generalization. USHG always had great service (Meyer literally wrote the book). But I remember knowing all the names of the big time chefs that ran the kitchens at Union Square Cafe (Michael Romano), Gramercy Tavern (Tom Colicchio), Tabla (Floyd Cardoz), The Modern (Gabriel Kreuther), etc. to now really only knowing the chef at GT (Michael Anthony) and the only reason I know that is he came from a former favorite place of mine (Blue Hill). I could be totally wrong, but I feel like the USHG model is less celebrity chef based these days...basically the chef is fungible assuming they have a certain level of expertise.

I just looked up USC's chef and found that Carmen Quagliata left recently after 15 years there. I had no idea who he was or that he was the chef at USC for 15 years.

I'm not suggesting in any way that Danny Meyer has left fine dining behind. But my gut feeling is that he's been trending more casual for years.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#24 Post by Mark Golodetz » August 1st, 2019, 2:01 pm

Although I have not been to EMP for several years, and did not enjoy my last couple of meals there, I have always been incredibly impressed with the FOH.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#25 Post by WvanGorp » August 2nd, 2019, 4:21 pm

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -Humm.html

Worst kept secret in the restaurant world but it’s now out.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#26 Post by F.Daner » August 10th, 2019, 3:47 pm

I would believe his education and experience were plenty to understand and excel at the business side. Most business is learned via experience and you can outsource specific tasks you might need help with. No dog in this hunt just general comment.
WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 7:56 am
Robert Dentice wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 6:53 am
WvanGorp wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 5:22 am
When Daniel first came to NY he barely spoke English. (The reason they named their company make it nice is that’s about all he knew to say in English when he arrived). Also he didn’t know American culture well. He was ambitious. To achieve his goals he needed someone who could help him speak and help write and edit his book he wanted to do. He needed help communicating with the staff and on and on and on. Will was there and was very capable—the perfect person to help him. But at a certain point Daniel acquired the knowledge fluency and skills he needed. So why should he share both control and profits with someone else? Without Daniel there is no Make It Nice. Not to detract from Will but he’s not essential for the company. There are 1,000 Will’s in a sense

So this day was bound to happen sooner or later. And happen it did.
It will be interesting to see what happens now. I don't know too many Chefs that can understand the business side.

This one can.

Btw Will doesn’t have a background or degree in business. His degree is in hospitality and hotel management from Cornell. It’s not a business degree.
Fred

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#27 Post by Kelly Walker » August 13th, 2019, 4:53 pm

The early days of 11MP were magical. The food was really the star. I remember several meals with Wilfred there (BTW, miss you). Subsequent visits did not seem to have the raw excitement of those early days. Post Danny Meyers, the menu cards got a little too cute, the wine list, while never cheap, became obscene. FOH was always friendly and flawless. But at some point I just stopped being excited. That may not be a reflection of the restaurant, possibly just familiarity. This may is likely a good thing. Maybe both can now re-create the original excitement of 11MP in new ventures.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#28 Post by Nick Gangas » August 13th, 2019, 8:18 pm

partnerships brake up for many reasons. Mostly because the partners start to disagree too much. In my humble opinion, it's always dangerous for a chef to proceed without a solid FOH companion.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#29 Post by WvanGorp » August 14th, 2019, 4:43 am

Nick, Daniel has a FOH “companion.” But that doesn’t mean he has to make them an owner. You don’t think for a minute that Daniel, as ambitious and exacting as he is, would let that slip do you?
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#30 Post by Nick Gangas » August 15th, 2019, 2:37 pm

WvanGorp wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 4:43 am
Nick, Daniel has a FOH “companion.” But that doesn’t mean he has to make them an owner. You don’t think for a minute that Daniel, as ambitious and exacting as he is, would let that slip do you?
well said. Maybe partner was too strong. Meant a strong FOH presence.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#31 Post by WvanGorp » August 15th, 2019, 2:46 pm

Absolutely Nick. We agree.
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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#32 Post by Nick Gangas » August 15th, 2019, 3:09 pm

WvanGorp wrote:
August 15th, 2019, 2:46 pm
Absolutely Nick. We agree.
I always pegged you for a genius Wilfred. :-)

That being said, we really do not know why they split or what Daniel's plans are.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#33 Post by saul_cooperstein » August 16th, 2019, 10:03 am

From a complete guess standpoint my suspicion would be that the split has much more to do with the non-EMP components of the business. If there was a strong pipeline on the fast causal side (particularly in new markets) and hotel deals outside NYC were growing quickly / performing my guess would be that the structure between them would have been fixed / adjusted vs split. If I had to pick a single business reason for the split I’d guess that during the openings of all of the new stuff (Nomad LA / LV etc) EMP had to elevate some FOH leadership on the on-the-ground to retain hospitality and standards...and when that growth outside of NYC slowed there was a duplication of resources on FOH that could no longer be ‘allocated’ to new projects or longer term growth plans.

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Re: Owners of eleven Madison Park To Split

#34 Post by WvanGorp » August 16th, 2019, 1:00 pm

Saul I think your observations reflect a high level of intelligence and business acumen.
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