MIB: The Secret to Hiring Great People

What is the best way to attract and hire the very best people in your business? That was the challenge facing restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR). While many restaurants chase after star chefs and expensive talent, Mitchell found that was not the path to acquire industry rock stars.

“We get the same people everybody else gets,” he says. “We don’t hire great people, we hire people and allow them to become great.”

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. This is a different premise than most restaurants. The secret, according to Mitchell, is to “just treat people great and inspire them to grow and learn.” Employees are excited about the company, and “it’s such a positive momentum that it permeates the entire organization” he says.

Mitchell, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, 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. He is also 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.

His favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast, and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Matt Hougan, former CEO of Inside ETFs, now the Global Head of Research at Crypto firm Bitwise Asset Management.