Who is Cameron Mitchell?


Cameron Mitchell is president and founder of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. A lifelong entrepreneur, Mitchell is an accomplished businessman, culinary expert and nationally recognized restaurateur. His prominence in the industry increased exponentially in early 2008, when he guided the sale of two of his most popular concepts - Mitchell's Fish Market and Mitchell's Steakhouse, a total of 22 restaurants - to Ruth's Hospitality Group for $92 million.

It is an extraordinary accomplishment in a career that has been called "a dish room to board room story." Cameron began his career in the restaurant industry over three decades ago, when he began as a dishwasher at a local steakhouse. A few years later, when he was working as a line cook during a chaotic shift change, he realized he loved the restaurant business and set out to make it his lifelong career.

After that shift, he put pen to paper to map out his career goals, waking his mother in the middle of the night to share them with her. Those goals - to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), to become an executive chef by age 23, to be a restaurant general manager by 24, and ultimately to be president of a restaurant company by the age of 35 - eventually were the benchmarks that would set the course of Cameron Mitchell's restaurant industry career.

At the age of 22, Cameron graduated from the CIA. He started his professional career with the 55 Restaurant Group in Columbus and rose through the company's ranks until he was directing all restaurant operations. But eventually, his corporate ladder ran out of rungs, and Cameron set forth on his final career aspiration - to create and preside over his own restaurant company.

In 1993, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants began with the launch of Cameron's, an intimate, contemporary American bistro in northwest Columbus. Through the development of new concepts and the expansion of several of his most popular concepts, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants grew to become a 33-unit, multi-concept operation with locations in nine states. At the company's peak, in 2007, sales exceeded $120 million annually.

Cameron Mitchell has spent the years since the sale of the Mitchell's Fish Market and Mitchell's Steakhouse brands, continuing on his culinary journey to develop and introduce innovative dining concepts. CMR remains independent and privately held, with 22 units and 11 different concepts, as well as a separate and highly successful catering company, Cameron Mitchell Premier Events. Furthermore, CMR continues to manage the growth and development of its sister company, The Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern with 17 locations in three states.

With an entrepreneur's energy, vision and passion, Mitchell's sights are set on the development of new restaurant concepts, and the expansion of concepts currently in his company's portfolio, particularly Ocean Prime (known in Columbus as Mitchell's Ocean Club). Plans include introduction of this concept in metropolitan markets across the country such as Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Chicago and many more.

Cameron Mitchell's successes in business and keen understanding of the restaurant industry have earned him countless awards and acknowledgements. Most notably, he has been honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, as a Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration and as one of 5 Golden Chain winners by Nation's Restaurant News. He also received the prestigious Silver Plate award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association and was honored with the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) 2007 Commitment to People Award.

In 2008, Cameron was inducted into the Junior Achievement Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame. Cameron is regularly sought after for speaking engagements and by national business and industry publications. He has been featured in publications including Restaurant Business, Nation's Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality, Chain Leader and Restaurants and Institutions.

Cameron is committed both to his profession and to the community he calls home. He serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the CIA and was the first alumnus to chair its board. Cameron actively recruits and mentors current and prospective students, and today, he is the school's largest alumni donor, by establishing a $500,000 scholarship fund.

Among his service to numerous local boards and committees in Columbus, Ohio, where he lives with his family, is his exceptional dedication to the Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation. Cameron is also an active member of the Columbus Partnership, and he is on the board of directors of KIPP Columbus.

The company is proud to celebrate 20 years in business on October 5, 2013.

Our Philosophy

"Great people delivering genuine hospitality" is more than a slogan at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. These are words we live and work by, as we continually strive to be extraordinary. Putting associates first is core to Cameron Mitchell's way of doing business, a strategy that strongly differentiates us from most every other competitor in the industry. We know the true path to great guest satisfaction lies in having truly happy associates.

Above all, we have worked to develop a creative atmosphere that is fun, emphasizes quality and rewards our associates, guests, purveyors, investors and community. We believe it is only by putting associates first that raving fans can be created within these five groups of people. That's why Cameron Mitchell Restaurants' employees are respected and referred to as associates. That's why Cameron Mitchell Restaurants experiences a turnover much lower than the industry standard. And that's why an associate-centered philosophy remains the foundation of company operations today.