Recipe for Restaurant Success: Not The Food!


Tilman Fertitta is a leader, the person that becomes a savior to struggling companies. As the world’s richest restaurateur, he collects poorly-run eateries—usually at rock-bottom prices—fires executives, overhauls existing ones and hammers out a smoother-running operation. He pulls restaurant chains from the brink of collapse and turns them into winners.

In other words, Fertitta knows the answer to a thriving restaurant chain—and it is not the food.

Caleb Melby begins a portrait of Fertitta for Forbes Magazine by outlining the Texas Coast
Taking advantage of difficult economic times, Fertitta is patient enough to wait to see bottom dollar prices on desired properties, as he did for the 20-unit chain Claim Jumpers. After being outbid for the informal eating places in 2005, he picked up the bankrupt 38-unit chain five years later, at a fraction of his first proposal.native as he built his first hotel at the age of 23. Melby shows that Fertitta is not afraid of a challenge.

Cost-cutting measures are Fertitta’s calling card—revamping restaurants by cutting portions and eliminating frills like pointless lemon wedges on dishes. Trimming extras on menus creates tremendous savings, transforming losing companies into profit makers.

To read the full profile of the Texas billionaire—The World’s Richest Restaurateur—go to Forbes.com.

Photo: Tim Pannel for Forbes.

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