A Conversation with Gertrude’s Owner John Shields – Part II

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John Shields

Courtesy of Citybizlist – John Shields, recognized as “The Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay,” has authored four  cookbooks (and is currently working on his fifth) and hosts a show on public television entitled “Chesapeake Bay Cooking.” Beginning in 1996 (and in his “spare” time), John is the owner and operator of Gertrude’s –  his restaurant at The Baltimore Museum of Art (www.gertrudesbaltimore.com).

We recently sat down with John (over lunch, of course) to discuss his different ventures, the challenges he has overcome to be successful and achieve longevity, as well as to learn more about his recent activities, his thoughts about the future and quality of food served by restaurants and national food processing companies. This is Part II of our interview. (Read Part I here.)

Q. What advice would you give to the person looking to open a restaurant?
A. Simple answer – Don’t Do It! Seriously, it is an extremely unforgiving business that requires the investment of nearly all of your time. Even if everything goes right, the profit margin for a restaurant is about 10% and there are many, many ways to bring this number down. There are a number of inexperienced operators in the industry, which is why the failure rate remains so high. So I use the “don’t do it” response to gauge the passion the person really has to be in this business. To succeed in the restaurant business, I think you really need to want it.

Read more at citybizlist



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