375: Become a “Who” not a “What” with Mark Canlis

In this episode, we discuss the Canlis family history, what Mark has learned from his family history, highering people who inspire, the difference between being a “what” and a “who”, The biggest lessons Mark learned working under Danny Meyer, how Mark almost got fired from Union Square Hospitality Group, how being honest and earnest saved his job,  the role humility plays, the importance of having a company mission, why it’s worth putting other people first, giving others the benefit of the doubt, being empathetic, the true meaning of hospitality.

Hailing from Seattle, WA Mark Canlis is a graduate of Cornell University and served as a Captain in Air Force Special Operations. After his service, Marked helped open famed restaurateur Danny Meyer’s fifth restaurant, Blue Smoke, in Manhattan. He returned back to Seattle in 2003, as a 4th generation co-owner of the family restaurant, Canlis. Canlis is nationally acclaim as one of the finest restaurants in America.


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“Hospitality is all about relationships. Relationships are about trust. Be known as someone who is trustworthy.”

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 Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Being trustworthy.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Seeing whats wrong and not right.
    • No eye for detail.
    • a tendency to over-correction.
  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    • Be real, transparent.
    • Be known. Be a who.
    • Be somebody worthy of following.
  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • Higher people who are looking to grow.
    • Ask, “How will working here help you become who you want to become?”
  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    • Leading and being the most relevant restaurant.
    • Constant, never-ending change.
  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    • Canlis “sees you.”
  7. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  8. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

  9. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

    1. Find mentors and get clear about why you respect them.
  10. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

  11. What is your hook? 
  • Be ready to answer that question 😉

Contact Info


Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Mark Canlis for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!