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Why Restaurateur Mark Canlis Wants to Put His Staff Before His Customers

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Canlis is about to make a huge gamble by putting the emotional health of its staff before the wealth of its bottom line.

Here's Cornell University alum and fourth generation restaurateur Mark Canlis from Canlis in Seattle at The Roots of American Food Conference talking, at length, about how Canlis is about to change its management style from focusing on its P&L to focusing on its people. Canlis is so serious about this revolutionary outlook that he says to the audience, "Can I warn you? Go [to Canlis] soon. Because what my brother and I are about to do might bury a four generation old business. What we're about to do is bet the farm on... a sort of emotionally intelligent leadership, and taking care of our people in front of taking care of our business."

Canlis' argument centers around this statement, which he makes repeatedly: "We're the restaurant industry, the hospitality business, and here we're not taking care of our own..." Watch Canlis talk about how he'll hire staff and care for them, all under the premise that doing so will make them better people and better employees: "The days when you can steamroll over your cooks are over... If every cook wanted to cook like you but no one wanted to be like you, are you the best chef in the world? No."