Hospitality Books You Need to Read

If you’re aspiring to a hospitality management career you need to make sure these books have a prominent spot on your bookshelf.

Over the course of my career friends and colleagues recommended these books to me. Some of them came to me at the beginning of my journey, others while I was mired in the slop of late, drunken nights while shutting things down, or when I was thinking of giving up the lifestyle altogether.

Some I’ve read many times.

Every one of these books has helped me to focus on what I love doing and my goals. They’ve helped me through the stresses of the job and have given me a new outlook on myself and others.

In fact, I need them again now. I think I’ll take my own advice and reread all of them.


Be My Guest – Conrad N. Hilton

Be My GuestThis was the first hospitality book I read. It was given to me as a teenager while I worked the front desk at the Nassau Bay Hilton. To this day, I remember Conrad’s remarkable account of his early life to achieving his dream of owning the Waldorf Astoria.



Setting the Table  – Danny Meyer

Setting the TableThis was given to me at one of those points where I was just going through the motions and collecting a paycheck. I was burnt out and fed up. Reading about Danny’s passion for what he does and how he got to where he is now re-inspired me.



Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen ConfidentialBy 2007, when this book was written, the food craze had taken off. Anthony was part of the cause of that. He had published A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines five years earlier. With Kitchen Confidential, he exposes the less glamorous side of being a chef.

I loved this book. I love his story. He was like me. As you read my content, you’ll see that Mr. Bourdain and I have a similar viewpoint on life in the service industry.

The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: The Handbook For Becoming the “Nordstrom” of Your Industry – Robert Spector & Patrick D. McCarthy

The Nordstrom WayI worked for Nordstrom. They have a Bistro concept that is a scratch kitchen with some of the most talented chefs and cooks you can find.

From the moment you walk into any Nordstrom location, you can feel the focus is on you, the customer. Every employee will say hello, ask if you need anything, and something I think is amazing, remember you the next time they see you.

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service – The Disney Institute

Be Our GuestThe high level of customer service is among the top reasons Disney is the global powerhouse it is today. Even Hilton follows their lead in the customer service field.

Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know – Jeffery Gitomer

Customer WorthlessA long title and a unique viewpoint. Gitomer emphasizes the importance of the seemingly small point of interaction with the guest. I fully agree with him. That’s where customer service really happens.

The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk

Thank You EconomyBy now I would hope you understand the importance of social media marketing and the impact it has had on the industry? I myself really became aware when I owned a small deli and had zero advertising and marketing budget.

I quickly realized the power and importance of social media. It grew little sandwich shop from doing $300 a day to averaging over $1500 a day. Sounds small, but because of my price point, we went from averaging 35 sandwiches to almost 200 sandwiches a day.


Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh

Delivering HappinesTony is the CEO of Zappos, the online shoe and accessory outlet. In his book, he defines how to achieve business success with little advertising, instead focusing on the customer experience. They’ve gotten to where they are today by word of mouth.




If you can suggest any books for the list please contact me and let me know. I’m always looking to share and expand my knowledge.

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