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About Will

Restaurateur, Eleven Madison Park, The #1 Restaurant in the World, Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author, ‘Unreasonable Hospitality’

He is the co-owner of Make It Nice, a hospitality group that currently includes Eleven Madison Park, the NoMad restaurants, and Made Nice.

A native of Sleepy Hollow, New York, Will has been immersed in the restaurant industry since the age of thirteen. A graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, Will began his dining room training at Spago Beverly Hills and attended culinary school in the north of Spain. He then went on to various roles throughout Union Square Hospitality Group, and from 2006, to 2012 acted as general manager of Eleven Madison Park. He is also the co-founder of the Welcome Conference, an annual hospitality-driven event held in Manhattan that brings together the best minds from the world of hospitality for a day-long discussion.

In 2011, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm purchased Eleven Madison Park, and under their leadership, the restaurant has received numerous accolades, including four stars from the New York Times, three Michelin stars, and in 2017 was given the highest ranking on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. EMP has also received seven James Beard Foundation awards, including Outstanding Service and Outstanding Restaurant in America.

In early 2012, Will went on to open the food and beverage spaces at The NoMad Hotel. At The NoMad New York, they have received a three-star review from The New York Times, one Michelin star, and a James Beard Foundation award. In 2014, Will and Daniel opened The NoMad Bar, which has earned a top spot on the World’s Best Bar list. In 2017, they opened Made Nice, a counter-service restaurant located in the NoMad neighborhood.

While running the restaurant Eleven Madison Park, Will Guidara discovered the remarkable power of giving people more than they expect, and used this idea of Unreasonable Hospitality to turn a struggling two-star brasserie into the #1 restaurant in the world. This radical reinvention was a true partnership between the kitchen and the dining room, creating memorable, over-the-top, bespoke hospitality. Today, every business can choose to be a hospitality business—we can all transform ordinary transactions into extraordinary experiences. In his presentations, Guidara urges us all to find the magic in what we do—for ourselves, the people we work with, and the people we serve.

Will and Daniel have co-authored four cookbooks together: Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook, I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes, The NoMad Cookbook, and Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter.

Will in Action

” Will had a phenomenal impact on our teams from both Paris and New York. His enthusiasm and passion for hospitality resonated with everyone. He offered out of the box thinking and ideas, and he delivered his message with genuine authenticity and emotion. He inspired so, so many of us, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with Will and his unique experience. Already the wheels are in motion at Hermes for Unreasonable Hospitality!”

Hermes
Speech Topics

Unreasonable Hospitality: How Giving People More Than They Expect Can Get You To #1

Will Guidara took Eleven Madison Park from a middling Brasserie to the best restaurant in the world when he realized something revolutionary – in a restaurant, the food, the service, and the design are simply ingredients in the recipe of human connection. When Will encouraged his team to be present with their guests, take what they do seriously without taking themselves too seriously, and employ a “one size fits one” strategy, magic happened. In this talk, Will shares why these lessons took EMP to #1, and how an unreasonable approach to the pursuit of human connection can help you win – and give people an experience they’ll remember forever.

How To Build A Brand Centered On Unreasonable Hospitality

For most of America’s history, we functioned as a manufacturing economy; now, we’re a service economy—more than three-quarters of our GDP comes from service. So, whether you’re in retail, finance, education, healthcare, computer services, communications, you are in the business of serving other people. Making good products is no longer enough, serving efficiently is no longer enough – now, it’s how you make the people you work with and those you serve feel that matters most of all. In this talk, Will will share why he believes our world is on the precipice of becoming a hospitality economy, and how every business can choose to be in the business of hospitality, by transforming ordinary transactions into extraordinary experiences.

Why Hospitality Is Today’s #1 Leadership Skill

We know that people and teams excel at a high-level when they feel in community with each other – aligned and connected. In the corporate workplace, this used to happen organically but in today’s post-pandemic world where most work is done remotely, the conditions of the game have changed – which means leaders must change how they’re playing the game. Today’s leaders need to be skilled at very intentionally creating the conditions for their teams to come together, to genuinely connect – and that’s what is at the heart of hospitality. Leaders who know how to take a collection of individuals and make sure they operate as a team will create more connected, inspired, effective, and happy employees. By applying ideas honed over the course of his career operating the world’s #1 restaurant, Will helps others do whatever it takes to be better hosts, and thus better leaders.

Giving More vs. Less: Why Hospitality Is The Greatest Tool In Problem-Solving

Too often, when we’re faced with a pernicious problem in business or our lives, we fall back on the tried-and-true: push harder, be more efficient, cut back. Imagine, that instead you asked yourself: what is the hospitality solution? What if you forced yourself to be creative, to develop a solution that worked because of—not in spite of—your dedication to generosity and extraordinary service? These are usually harder to execute, and coming up with them will definitely call on your creative side. But they’re almost always a win. During times of struggle – particularly in today’s economic climate – people tend to operate from a place of fear. In this talk, Will makes the case for why this is the perfect time to root your decisions in hospitality and give more, not less.