Cameron Mitchell, Founder & CEO, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
As CEO and founder of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR), Cameron Mitchell oversees the company’s strategic direction, directs its consistent growth, and ensures that the company’s unique cultural environment is maintained among associates at all levels.
Under Mitchell’s leadership as founder and CEO, CMR has grown to 32 restaurants under 15 different concepts, including a highly successful catering company, Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, and a coast-to-coast 12-state concept, Ocean Prime. CMR also oversees the growth and development of its sister company, Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern, which operates 23 locations in six states.
Mitchell’s “dish room to board room story” began when he was 16-years-old and working as a dishwasher at a local Columbus, Ohio steakhouse, where he was later promoted to line cook. In what could only be described as an epiphany one night during a busy, chaotic shift change a few years later, Mitchell realized he loved the restaurant business and that he found what he wanted to do the rest of his life. Following that formative experience, Mitchell mapped out his career 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 age 24, and ultimately to be president of a company by the age of 35 – eventually these served as the benchmarks that would set the course of his restaurant industry career. In 1993, Mitchell opened CMR’s first restaurant, Cameron’s, at age 30.
Mitchell has built CMR around the philosophy, “The answer is yes. What is the question?” and by making a Raving Fan out of every associate in the company and each guest who walks into the door of a CMR restaurant. It’s a simple statement that serves as the backbone of how the company identifies itself as “great people delivering genuine hospitality.”
With an entrepreneur’s energy, vision and passion and forward-thinking mindset, Mitchell’s sights are currently set on the development of new restaurant concepts, and the expansion of concepts currently in the company’s portfolio.
Mitchell’s successes in business and keen understanding of the restaurant industry have earned him countless awards and acknowledgements. He has been recognized 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 50 New Taste Makers by Nation’s Restaurant News. Mitchell also received the Richard Melman Concepts of Tomorrow Award in 2005; a prestigious Silver Plate award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association; a Commitment to People Award from the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) in 2007, and in 2008, was inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame. He was honored to be named one of five Golden Chain Winners by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2009 and was named CEO of the year by Columbus CEO in 2015.
Mitchell is committed both to his profession and to the community he calls home. He completed a two-year term as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CIA, the first alumnus to do so, and actively recruits and mentors current and prospective students. Today, he is the school’s largest alumni donor, having established a $500,000 scholarship fund.
Among his service to numerous local charities and committees in Columbus, Ohio, is his dedication to The United Way, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, and The Ohio State University. Mitchell is also deeply committed to the Columbus State Community College Foundation with the lead gift of $2.5 million to the towards the construction of Mitchell Hall, a brand new; 80,000 sq. ft.; state-of-the-art hospitality management and culinary arts school, slated to open in 2019. Mitchell is also an active member of the Young President’s Gold Organization, the Columbus Partnership, and he serves on the board of directors of the charter school, KIPP Columbus.
Mitchell is a native and current resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio. When he’s not working, Mitchell enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, golfing, and traveling around the world.