Appetite for America
Bantam, May 3 2011, $18.00
This terrific historical biography starts off with quite a hook when drunken cowboys in 1882 meet Fred Harvey at his Montezuma Hotel and after a drink with the English expatriate and midnight breakfast come away with awe while wondering “Who the hell is Fred Harvey?” Stephen Fried provides a deep answer to the question of the pioneering entrepreneur who established the restaurant chain concept with his eating out facilities by railroad stations. As America changed, Fred Harvey modified his innovative Harvey Houses concept to include restaurants at National Parks with the Grand Canyon being the jewel. Even after he died his revolutionary business model survived. Well written, besides the radical change to the American service industry, the biography also looks back at the rest of the Fred Harvey story from his roots in England to the end of his company in the twentieth century. Stephen Fried provides a super spotlight on a key business mogul who began the change from the industrial manufacturing base to the service industry.