Like the vast majority of Americans living in New York City, Danny Meyer—the famous restaurateur behind institutions like Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and the fast-food chain Shake Shack—woke up Wednesday morning to a vastly different reality than what he was expecting. On Tuesday night, after a contentious race with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.
And while this week dejected progressives took to social media to air their grievances—with the outrage eventually boiling out into the streets—Meyer sat down and penned a long, emotional letter to his employees at Union Square hospitality group. To begin with, the restaurateur attempted to make sense of what had just transpired.
"Like others, I am working hard to sort out my own feelings so that I can be there for my family and for you. I’m not going to sugar coat it: this is tough,” Meyer wrote, outlining a six-point plan toward accepting the reality of the situation. “Donald Trump will be our next president. I acknowledge that I found it hard to type those words, but there, I did it, and it was actually therapeutic. Acceptance of reality is never a bad first step to healing.”
Though electing a new commander-in-chief will affect not only every American, but the world at large, the restaurant industry in particular is sure to the feel the presence of President-elect Trump, a man who frequently attacked immigrants, women, and people of color during his campaign. Meyer, who is known for treating his employees with a level of respect and dignity not always seen in the restaurant business, advised his staff to take pride in caring for others.
“Enlightened Hospitality works and over the course of our company’s history, whenever we have been tested by challenges, whenever our world has been rocked, and times are uncertain—we have turned to what we know and do best: first taking care of ourselves, so that we can do a remarkable job at taking care of others,” Meyer wrote. “I’m holding myself accountable to that, and need you to do the same. And that begins with listening.”
To read Meyer’s full letter, head over to Eater.