The Answer Is Yes! What's the Question?



How Faith In People and a Culture Of Hospitality Built A Modern American Restaurant Company

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The Answer Is Yes! What's the Question?


Cameron Mitchell’s “dish room to board room story” began in Columbus, Ohio when he was a 16-year-old troubled teen who failed at school and got a job as a dishwasher at a local steakhouse. Two years later when he was working as line cook during a chaotic shift change, he had an epiphany. He realized he loved the restaurant business and set out to make it his lifelong career.

In this book, Mitchell tells the unvarnished story of his rapid rise and rags to riches story that any entrepreneur or restaurant enthusiast will love and learn from. With the voice of a natural storyteller, he reveals the highs and lows of a twenty-five-year journey: from fundraising for his first restaurant to coast-to-coast expansion, and his extraordinary sale of 22 restaurants for $92 million—after which he nearly lost everything, then rebuilt again. Most importantly, Mitchell shares the company culture and values that he believes were the secret to his success.

Today, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants remains independent and privately held, collectively generates over $300 million in annual revenue and operates 57 restaurants from coast to coast.

Cameron Mitchell has the guts to look you in the eye, admit his mistakes, and share the lessons he learned, in this straight-from-the-shoulder story of one of America’s most unlikely companies.


Cameron is one of the perfect examples of what makes America the greatest country in the world. Hard work, determination, and relentless pursuit to be the very best will be rewarded.

Elite Teams I’ve coached and elite businesses I’ve studied share the same focus on the development of a winning culture. This is exactly what Cameron Mitchell shares in his new book 'Yes is the answer'. I admire his openness of his struggles and his clarity of expectations of this culture. A great read for leaders of teams, businesses, and families."

Urban Meyer

Head Football Coach of The Ohio State Buckeyes

'Yes is the Answer. What is the Question?' is a wonderful story about a young entrepreneur who took risks, learned from his mistakes, worked hard, and beat the odds. Cameron Mitchell’s autobiography demonstrates how he created a culture of hospitality and built his business by putting people first. I found it to be an excellent and very personal read."

Richard Melman

Founder & Chairman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.

Cameron’s love for food, life, business, and fun come alive in every tasty page of this wonderful book. I ate it up. Cameron tells the story and shares how the operating culture at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants propelled it to become one of the most prolific, private, multi-concept restaurant companies in the United States."

Michael Symon

Iron Chef, Entrepreneur, TV Personality

Cameron Mitchell's 'Yes Is The Answer. What Is The Question?' is a candid, revealing and highly instructive chronicling of his inspiring journey from a troubled youth, through the Culinary Institute of America—and on to extraordinary success in the restaurant industry. The CIA Family is extremely proud of Cameron and recommends this book to aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned business veterans alike."

Dr. Tim Ryan

President, The Culinary Institute of America

'Yes is the Answer. What is the Question?' is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn the secrets of one of the legends of America's amazing restaurant industry. From his start as a 16-year-old dishwasher to one of the most respected and admired leaders in hospitality, this book chronicles the spectacular results that come when an authentic leader and an organization put their people first."

Dawn Sweeney

President & CEO, National Restaurant Association

Cameron Mitchell’s deep commitment to his team’s personal well-being and professional development permeates his narrative of his company’s founding, setbacks, and remarkable success. His book is an important and instructive read for anyone dedicated to building a positive culture while growing a profitable business."

Lena G. Goldberg

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Honest and unique … A penetrating insight into the mind of a successful founder . . . a wonderful example of performance and purpose."

Leslie H. Wexner

Chairman and CEO, L Brands, Inc.


Cameron Mitchell

Cameron Mitchell is the Founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR), headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Mitchell has enjoyed success as a lifelong entrepreneur, accomplished businessman, culinary expert and nationally recognized restaurateur.

Mitchell has built CMR around a strong company culture and set of values that put associates first. “Yes is the Answer. What is the question?” is a simple statement that serves as the backbone of a company that identifies itself as “great people delivering genuine hospitality.”

Cameron Mitchell’s successes in business and keen understanding of the restaurant industry have earned him countless awards and acknowledgements. Committed both to his profession and his community, Mitchell completed a two-year term as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America, the first alumnus to do so. CMR is the lead donor towards a new, $33 million, state-of-the-art Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts School at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Molly, and their three children. He is also an active member of the Young President’s Gold Organization, the Columbus Partnership, and serves on the board of directors of the charter school, KIPP Columbus.

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