Chefs and cooks are important—without them, your favorite restaurants couldn’t run. Your favorite cooking competition shows wouldn’t exist. Without them, you’d probably have no idea what kimchi is.

The Welcome Conference exists to focus not on cooks, but a different and very important part of the service industry: The front of house.

Good hospitality and FOH work is decidedly more of an art than a science, while most of what happens in a kitchen is a bit of both. Handling the general public and keeping them happy is an entirely different kind of challenge, because there are no easy equations to work in your mind. A sincere smile and paying undivided attention to each customer helps, but how it proceeds beyond that is all you.

With that in mind, Will Guidara of The Nomad and Eleven Madison Park got together with his friend Anthony Rudolf, who was formerly part of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. The two dreamed up the Welcome Conference, which they determined would be “a forum to share ideas, inspire each other, and connect through conversation.”

Guidara explains to Eater how the Welcome Conference came to be,

“One night, Anthony and I just had a late night, just having drinks together, and in that night we realized that, hold on, yeah, competition is healthy, but it should be competition between friends who can actually rely on one another as a resource.”

For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to attend, there’s always Twitter.

Scroll down to see the ten best quotes from the inaugural Welcome Conference.

And in the afternoon, Shake Shack hosted a custard break for attendees. A custard break. Clearly, these people know their hospitality game inside and out.