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About Will

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

Will Guidara is the author of The NY Times Bestseller Unreasonable Hospitality, which chronicles the lessons in service and leadership he has learned over the course of his career in restaurants. He is the former co-owner Eleven Madison Park, which under his leadership received four stars from the New York Times, three Michelin stars, and in 2017 was named #1 on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. He is the host of the Welcome Conference, an annual hospitality symposium that brings together like minded people to share ideas, inspire one another, and connect to form community. A graduate of the hospitality school at Cornell University, he has coauthored four cookbooks, was named one of Crain’s New York Business’s 40 Under 40, and is the recipient of WSJ Magazine’s Innovator Award.

Will in Action

“Will was incredible – completely the perfect fit for our event and ‘wowed’ the crowd. People were still buzzing about it this morning as they were heading home from the conference. He mentioned that we don’t use the word ‘awesome’ enough as adults…So I can sum it up with: He. Was. AWESOME!!”

Four Seasons

“WHAT A DAY! Will is incredibly kind, smart, and fun! Our leaders loved Will’s keynote and said he was our best speaker of all our years doing this! It was wonderful! More to come as I get back in the office, but I wanted you to know how much I’ve enjoyed working with you, your team and of course, Will. You all have been wonderful!”
St. Luke’s Health System

“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!”
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, or communications, you are in the business of serving other people. Making good products is no longer enough, and 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, and 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.