Restaurant and entertainment – both are incredibly challenging businesses, especially if you want lasting success within those industries. It’s easy to think that if you can succeed in the entertainment industry, the restaurant industry would be a piece of cake, all you have to do is invite your friend over, and you have the number one hotspot in town.
However, the reality is far from it.
Despite all odds, here are some personalities that have managed to achieve success in both the industries.
Read Also: Rappers Who Own Restaurants
Table of Contents
Sandra Bullock – Walton’s Fancy and Staple
The 55-year-old German-American star grabbed her “bus” to stardom in the action film Speed. From a supporting role as a distant connection to Keanu Reeves in the movie Speed to one of the highest-paid actresses in the world in 2010 and again in 2014 (a whopping $51 Million), she had one hell of a bus ride. Sandra Bullock is not just a successful actress, but she also does voice work for animated movies, has produced and acted in TV shows, loves remodeling homes, and speaks German.
Her restaurant reflects this multi-talent of the actress.
Sandra Bullock Loves Southern Food
Sandra Bullock grew up with fresh Southern food, and she brings that to her restaurant, Walton’s Fancy and Staple in downtown Austin. The restaurant menu is a homage to Southern cuisine with its biscuits and gravy and in-house roasted meat. Her restaurant also houses a gift shop and a floral shop, and caters cakes and buffets for weddings. The hybrid makes for a stunning interior aesthetic and a diverse set of offerings.
Although Sandra has never been the one for social media presence, when you visit her restaurant – you will find all the trendiest and picture-perfect corners fitting for that memorable Instagram moment. The historic and cozy interiors combined with floral arrangements from the shop and eye-feasting desserts from the in-house bakery make for a more than average dine-in experience.
Both locals and tourists flock to the restaurant, especially for brunches or their bakery desserts. Private dining areas are commonly found in celeb-owned restaurants, and her’s is not different. The restaurant has a “Hideaway room,” which is a perfect location used for luncheons, bridal showers, or private parties.
Walton’s Fancy and Staple’s Revenue and Profits
We estimate that this 80 seat establishment does roughly $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 in annual revenue. This likely generates $100,000 to $150,000 in annual profits for Sandra Bullock, once here initial investment was returned.
Robert De Niro – Nobu
De Niro’s parents were known as the “golden couple” of the New York art circle. His mother was a gifted painter, and the father was a celebrated painter, sculptor, and poet. Considering his parentage, it is not surprising that De Niro found his artistic career in the film world.
It is also likely the reason he started young at the age of 16. Since then, De Niro has had an illustrious career, with countless acclaimed works. From Godfather, Goodfellas, to The Irishman, his blockbuster list is long. Although this list is long, his start was humble with big ambitions.
Robert De Niro’s Humble Restaurant Beginnings
A similar pattern of humble beginning and ambitious dreams is reflected in his career as a restaurant owner.
In 1989, Robert De Niro bought a property in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. The building was old, with broken pipes and dripping water, and had rats. De Niro flew Nobu, a well-known sushi chef in LA to New York, and showed him this building. He shared his dream of opening a restaurant space and asked Nobu to join him. Nobu, unable to participate at that time, went back and worked on his own restaurant Matsuhisa.
De Niro then opened up Tribeca Grill with restaurateur Drew Nieporent. This was the start of De Niro’s restaurant empire. Four years later, he got on board Nobu and started Nobu New York. From Nobu New York to a whole chain of luxury restaurants around the world, Robert De Niro is now a leading restaurateur and a big name in the restaurant industry.
The story of Chef Nobu Matsuhiso is as interesting as his partnership with Robert De Niro. Read a quick summary here.
Nobu’s Revenue and Profits
We estimate that this 29 unit empire does an average of $5,000,000 to $7,500,000 per location. At 29 locations this equates to $145,000,000 to $217,500,000 in annual revenue across De Niro’s restaurant empire. At a roughly 12.5% pre-tax net profit for the entire Nobue empire, it likely generates between $18,125,000 to $27,187,500 in profits annually. This net income is after the initial investment is returned and assuming limited expansion.
Chris Noth – The Cutting Room
A Yale Drama school graduate, Chris Noth performed over 25 plays while he was at the university. Even though he was immersed in the acting profession, he did not hit stardom until his mid-thirties. It was Law & Order that put him on the global watch, and it was Sex & the City that made him a household name. In between his movies and TV shows, you will often find him in a broadway show or musical, and it’s late night at his nightclub.
Chris Noth Plays It Big in the Upper East Side
It only fits that Chris Noth or Mr. Big’s nightclub location is in a prime location of Upper East Manhattan. In real life, Christ co-owns it with Steve Walter, a close friend, and photographer. The Cutting Room, a music venue and bar, boasts performances by top artists such as John Mayer, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Sting, and Sheryl Crow.
They also have line-ups from up and coming artists and provide a stage for them to exhibit their talent. Known for its amazing live music scene and crafty cocktails, the venue has a very artistic feel to it. Leather couches, dominant red walls with guitar collages, and dim-lit ambiance further add to its musical theme.
You might have also seen the restaurant in various shows or interviews. British Airways in-flight entertainment (with Roger Daltrey and Gabrielle Aplin), Jennifer Hudson’s Interactive One, and Carnival Cruise Lines film – they were shot at this venue.
The Cutting Room Revenue and Profits
We estimate that this venue with 240 seating capacity and 450 standing room generated $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 in annual revenue a year. This equated to $200,000 to $300,000 in annual profits a year (pre-tax). This net income of 10% is due mostly to the high cost of labor and rent in the neighborhood of Manhattan, where this club is located.
Channing Tatum – Saints and Sinners
Channing Tatum was approached by a talent agent on the street who convinced him to pursue modeling. He reluctantly agreed and, from there, went on to sign contracts with brands like Nautica, Gap, American Eagle, A&F. While he traveled for his modeling acts, he realized his passion for acting and went on to deliver hits such as 21 Jump Street, Dear John, and of course, Magic Mike.
From modeling to TV show appearances to movies, you can assume that Channing Tatum has a part of life that is wild and glamorous. His restaurant is a perfect depiction of this side of his life.
Channing Tatum Loves New Orleans
The Magic Mike star owns a restaurant “Saints and Sinners” on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. During the day, it is a family restaurant for trying anything from Fried Alligator Tail to “Grown up Mac & Cheese.” During the night, the fine dining turns to fun dining. The restaurant which is styled after the red-light district and burlesque halls lights up every evening (the location is historically known for its legal brothers, Jazz music and questionable folks).
This restaurant has a stripper pole installed and a menu that sells items like “Olivia’s Naked Oysters and Po Boys”, hosts regular parties and events keeping up with the Bourbon street mood. With premium bottle services, VIP areas, and an electrifying atmosphere, it is also a popular choice for hosting bachelor and bachelorette parties.
The outdoor patio and a balcony overlooking the Bourbon street places you in the middle of the whole entertainment scene of the neighborhood. To add to this excitement, the restaurant also brings in the “Magic Mike” crew (a group of Male Strippers) regularly. It attracts a huge female crowd wanting to experience the city and the famous Bourbon street madness.
Saints and Sinners Revenue and Profits
A relatively small establishment, this restaurant, and bar generates between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000 a year, mostly from sales of alcoholic beverages. It has high margins on its beverages but suffers from higher than average rents by being located on bourbon street. It likely generates between $187,500 and $250,000 annually in pre-tax profits (12.5% net profit margin).
Ralph Lauren – The Polo Bar
The son of a middle-class Jewish Immigrant, Ralph Lauren, discovered his love for fashion early on. He set out to be a fashion icon at age 12 when he saved money to buy stylish looks for school. His very first collection, tie designs, caught Bloomingdale’s interest, but Ralph having a knack for business, did not agree to their conditions and refused to make an initial deal with them.
However, in just a few years, he expanded his collection and designed a menswear line. He introduced these designs in his very first shop, which was located inside, none other than Bloomingdale’s Department store. From his first store to designing for movies such as Great Gatsby, opening a Madison Avenue flagship store, receiving awards such as CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award from Audrey Hepburn, and establishing his Polo Sport line – Ralph has had an awe-inspiring career.
In the fashion industry, it is commonly quoted that Ralph does not just sell products but a lifestyle. His restaurants also reflect this personality, and they sell not only food and beverages but also elegance, exclusivity, and a fantastic experience.
Ralph Lauren Is a Genius Marketer and a Though Doorman
Ralph Lauren is known for marketing luxury to the masses, but his restaurant keeps out the big crowd and is often frequented by the elite. There are several claims about how it is almost impossible to get a table reservation here if you aren’t at least a B list celebrity. With a prohibitive door policy, the restaurant is known mostly for hosting names like Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Lopez, and Meghan Markle.
The restaurant theme, however, is very much like the fashion brand, with it’s fine leather tables, equestrian artwork, and polo match-inspired pieces. The typical crowd that is lucky to get a reservation here love their American menu, which is a mix of elegant dishes and street-style sandwiches and crab cakes.
The Polo Bar Revenue and Profits
These swanky establishments likely generate between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 annually per location. This per unit metrics means the entire portfolio of international Polo Bar locations generates between $14,000,000 and $17,500,000 in annual revenue (coffee shop sales discounts at 50% relative to the full-service establishments). With strong pricing power and demand, we can expect this portfolio to generate 15% net income with pre-tax profits of $2,100,000 to $2,625,000, which is extremely strong for a small restaurant group.
Jon Bon Jovi – The Soul Kitchen
Jon Bon Jovi was already playing in clubs by the time he was 16. Within eight years, he hit worldwide fame with his album Slippery When Wet. Along with his career in music, he worked hard also to establish his career in films. He started with small cameos and ended up later with lead roles in hits such as The Leading Man and Moonlight and Valentino. When he is not performing, he is producing and managing his record label “Jambco Records,” his management company “Bon Jovi Management”, and his football team “Philadelphia Soul.”
Even though he found success and fame, Bon Jovi is known for his humbleness and his social activism. He has his own charitable foundation, “The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation,” and was appointed to the White House Council for Community Services during the Obama presidency. His restaurant is a product of this charitable side of Bon Jovi.
Bon Jovi Charitable Good Eats
If you are a fan of Bon Jovi, his restaurant venture is another reason to love him even more. Earlier in this article, we read about celebrity restaurants with high-end offerings and closed-door policies, The Soul Kitchen is nothing like those restaurants. Instead, it is a community restaurant that makes hot and nutritious meals available to everyone.
The menu has no prices listed. You either donate (minimum $20) or volunteer with them to cover your food bill. People who can afford (about 54% of their customers) eat together with customers who volunteer, and this brings about a community feeling. Further, you will repeatedly see Bon Jovi himself visiting and eating with the guests, or even volunteering and washing dishes. The restaurant concept is as humble as the star himself.
If you are in New Jersey, visiting the restaurant for a 3-course Vegetarian meal and fresh dessert will make your evening, and someone else’s (thanks to your donation).
Ryan Gosling – Tagine Beverly Hills
Ryan Gosling has been in the movie industry almost all his life. As a kid back in 1993, he joined the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club and sang, danced, and acted throughout his childhood. He claims that “He went through puberty in a theme park” and rightly so. After his first Disney gig, he acted in TV series throughout his teen years and finally got his film debut in 2001 with The Believer.
However, he became every woman’s heartthrob only after his second hit, The Notebook, which was like the tipping point in his career. His success accelerated after that, and went on to become the Ryan Gosling we all know (love) today.
Having lived a very star-studded life in LA, his celebrity restaurant in the area is unsurprising.
Ryan Gosling the Hollywood Restaurateur
Ryan Gosling, with Chef Ben Benameur, co-own a Moroccon fine-dining restaurant in a quiet location at Beverly Hills. As you can already guess from the location, the restaurant is frequented by A-list celebrities and Hollywood’s elite. Several Hollywood names such as Salma Hayek, Keanu Reeves, Richard Gere have been regularly spotted at the restaurant. The restaurant boasts an authentic Moroccon menu, Bastila, and Tagine being their most popular menu items.
With its seasonally changing menu, small and aesthetic pleasing plating, and traditional Moroccan interiors, the restaurant provides more than just a culinary experience. Ryan Gosling is often at the location and clicks photos with the guests and fans. If you are in LA and a Ryan Gosling fan, you now know where you should try to meet him.
Tagine Beverly Hills Revenue and Profits
This trendy Beverly Hills spot seats roughly 40 guests and generates between $2,000,000 and $2,500,000 in annual revenue. This small establishment allows for reduced headcount and more affordable rent, resulting in $300,000 to $375,000 in pre-tax profits annually. Not bad for a 40 seat restaurant in the competitive L.A. food scene.
Lady Gaga – Joanne Trattoria
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta learned to play the piano at age 4. She wrote her first piano ballad at age 13. She performed for the first time in a New York nightclub at age 14. This music prodigy had a great start and continued with a top tier music education at the Tisch School of the Arts. However, she dropped all of this to find her creative inspiration and picked up three odd jobs (including her stint as a gogo dancer) to make ends meet.
Back then, no one would have understood this bold step, but it did catapult Stefani into becoming Lady Gaga. While she was already passionate about music as a kid, her inclination for fierce fashion started back in High school. She attended the same private school as Paris Hilton, and all she wanted was to stand out from all the blonde-haired girls. From there came the costume made from beef, the biggest hats, and the jaw-dropping dresses and boots.
Known for her bold costumes, provoking lyrics, and a powerful voice – Lady Gaga’s restaurant is nothing like her on-screen personality.
Lady Gaga an Italian Restaurateur
Growing up, Lady Gaga knew her father’s dream of opening an Italian restaurant of his own. Fast forward to 2011, just two streets away from where she grew up in Upper West of Manhattan, that dream came true. Lady Gaga and her father started Joanne Trattoria together, and the restaurant boasts a top Chef named Art Smith.
Chef Art Smith met Lady Gaga during The Oprah Winfrey Show taping, and they have been friends since. When Gaga opened the restaurant, she got him on board as a chef and as a business partner. With a cozy back patio, Tuscan countryside decor, fireplace near the entrance, family photos at a booth, and a Southern Italian menu – the restaurant promises you a little European escape in the middle of the hectic city of New York.
The restaurant is run by her parents, with Lady Gaga dropping in occasionally. The restaurant is small but known for significant portions of Spaghetti and meatballs. Owing to its location, the spot is a popular stop for a nice meal before a broadway or Lincoln Centre show.
Joanne Trattoria Revenue and Profits
This trendy Upper Westside jaunt seats roughly 70 guests and generates between $3,500,000 and $4,000,000 in annual revenue. This small establishment in Manhattan is challenged by rising rents and increased labor costs in the city, resulting in $350,000 to $400,000 in pre-tax profits annually. This 10% profit margin is excellent for the challenging NYC food scene.
When you visit these restaurants, in many ways, it is like getting a glimpse of your favorite celebrities. Seeing how Sandra Bullock brings the food that she grew up with to her restaurant—bumping into Lady Gaga’s childhood photos when you walk into Joanne. Catching a glimpse of Channing Tatum’s glamorous life or experiencing real Bon Jovi’s humbleness – these elements add to the already unique culinary concepts of these restaurants. Further, seeing how celebrities are leading double lives managing films and restaurants is an inspiration to all us hustlers out there.