On Hospitality


Our own Danielle at SymBowl St Charles

Many years ago I heard an interview, probably on NPR, with Danny Meyer introducing his new book.  Not only was I intrigued by my relationship to him as a fellow St. Louis guy and restaurant industry person, but his philosophy around hospitality particularly resonated.  Being in touch with the customer and the employee as an individual is, I believe, crucial.

In the intervening years I have often referred back to many of the things he professed.   “Service” in a restaurant is not enough to set you apart.  “Hospitality”, the true act of engaging and embracing your customer, is what elevates a standard operation to the elite status.  I based much of my own personal culinary philosophy at Sym·Bowl around the idea that service is not enough; customers want a connection.

Adhering to this way of business made Danny Meyer and his operations successful; a  benchmark of excellence.  Even when opening the fast-casual  Shake Shack concept,  Hospitality was the cornerstone of the operation.

Until now.  Now, it seems that automation and cutting labor dollars are the new mantra. No more person-to-person contact when ordering!

Shake Shacks’ newest location will be online or kiosk ordering only.

The claim seems to be that this will allow resources and money to go to better wages for the other employees. While I can understand the need to maintain the business bottom line, doing away with the human touch is a slap in the face to the very concept of Hospitality Mr. Meyer built his reputation on.

At what point do we as a culture stop minimizing the person, and begin to recognize the need to get connected without a computer screen between us?

Sadly for Shake Shack it seems that no longer matters.


“In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”


Danny Meyer, Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business


Shake Shack- Photo Credit Evan Sung


Sym•Bowl is a healthy restaurant located in Kirkwood, Chesterfield, and St. Charles Missouri that focuses on specialty diets such as gluten free options, anti-inflammatory, vegan, the paleo diet and more. They also offer a healthy catering menu as well as private parties for those who are looking at alternatives to the normal menu. In addition to offering healthy food options, Sym•Bowl also offers whole fruit smoothies and fresh juicing that is made to order.  The customizable menu utilizes healthy recipes, for a fresh, whole food, meal.  If you are looking for a healthy restaurant  for weight loss, healthy eating, or simply looking for a place to bring the family and enjoy a fresh meal together, come by and visit us today! 

Sym·Bowl Kirkwood

11215 Manchester Rd. St. Louis, Missouri 63122

(314) 315-4421

Sym·Bowl Chesterfield

137 Chesterfield Towne Center, Chesterfield, Missouri 63005

(636) 778-0638

Sym·Bowl St. Charles

1456 Bass Pro Dr. St. Charles, Missouri 63301

(636) 493-1138