This week, we sit down with restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR), which manages numerous restaurants across the country, and is the author Yes is the Answer! What is the Question?: How Faith In People and a Culture Of Hospitality Built A Modern American Restaurant Company.
A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Mitchell just celebrated his 25th year running the firm. CMR now generates $300 million in revenue, with 3,000 employees in 60 different locations across 15 different restaurant themes.
The genesis of his Mitchell’s philosophy comes from his experience of trying to order a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate milk shake for his son in a restaurant in a very Jack Nicholson moment (Five Easy Pieces). He quickly came to the realization that being able to say yes to customers was the very premise of a good restaurant — and often for many a missed opportunity.
Mitchell reveals the secret of spotting talent and hiring great people. His approach is to hire entry-level employees, and then teach them the company’s culture and philosophy. CMR prefers to promote from within, with each new server or bartender looked at as a potential supervisor, manager, and VP.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Bloomberg, Overcast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunes, Stitcher, Overcast, and Bloomberg.
Cameron Mitchell’s Book
Cameron Mitchell’s Favorite Books
The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch ’em Kick Butt by Hal Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters
The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
On The Brink: The Life and Leadership of Norman Brinker by Norman Brinker
Dave’s Way by Dave Thomas