mr. hospitality

Danny Meyer No Longer Makes It Rain: Danny Dollars Will Dry Up Next Year

Not an actual Danny Dollar.

Not an actual Danny Dollar.Photo-illustration: istockphoto

In his book, Setting the Table (in a chapter titled “The Virtuous Cycle of Enlightened Hospitality”), Danny Meyer boasts of Union Square Hospitality Group’s “monthly dining-voucher program for all staff members with at least three months’ tenure, that allows them to dine at any of our restaurants using a credit.” (The only catch, he says, is that they have to fill out a questionnaire about their dining experience.) Danny Dollars have long been known as one of the sweetest perks in the industry, but with Shake Shacks now opening as far away as Kuwait, they’re about to become a thing of the past. Confirming a tip we received, USHG sent us the following statement.

As our company grows, we want to continue to offer our full-time employees a range of benefits and incentives to dine in our restaurants. Beginning in 2010, employees will receive a 20% discount on all meals at USHG restaurants, as well as the gift of dining dollars (given on anniversary of employment) which can be used anywhere within the USHG family.

Still a generous deal (and presumably, staffers will still get an array of benefits such as health, dental, 401(k), flex spending, and vacation pay), but is a 20 percent discount as hospitable as the $50 per month that employees received back in 1994? (USHG declined to disclose the current rate.) Either way, they won’t have Danny Dollars to throw around anymore …

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