Planet Hollywood founder launches new concept – Ratti Report Planet Hollywood founder launches new concept

Planet Hollywood founder launches new concept

tequila-taqueriaSteve’s breakdown: Get in on the bottom floor with this new concept by Robert Earl. We think it has great growth potential compared to other Mexican concepts.

BTW: Earl is also a TV host, most recently for the show “Food Fortunes,” which is similar to “Shark Tank,” with contestants pitching ideas for food-related businesses.

ORLANDO, FL & LAS VEGAS, NV: Robert Earl, founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood International Inc. and owner of the Buca di Beppo and Earl of Sandwich chains, has launched a new concept in Las Vegas called Tequila Taqueria.

The 80-seat restaurant and bar opened earlier this month in the Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, offering a casual and contemporary Mexican menu with 37 premium tequilas and 10 Mexican beers on tap. Tacos will be a focus, but the menu also includes a broader array of Mexican dishes, and guacamole will be made to order tableside, Earl said.

The concept is designed to be a chain without a chain feel to it, he said.

“It’s great uniforms, good music and very authentic food, and it definitely has the potential to expand to other markets,” Earl said.

With dishes starting at around $11, the average check is under $20, he noted.

On Monday, Earl said he debuted a one-off variation of the Italian Buca di Beppo concept nearby, in Bally’s.

Dubbed Buca Café Italiano, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features daypart-appropriate buffets all day, as well as a la carte dining. At night, the café offers traditional family-style meals, as well as carved meats and fish.

However, Buca Café Italiano is not a growth vehicle, Earl said.

Earl and his family operate the three core businesses — the roughly 15-unit Planet Hollywood, the 104-unit Buca di Beppo and 27-unit Earl of Sandwich — separately, although they are all divisions of Orlando, Fla.-based Earl Enterprises and share a head office, as well as centralized accounting, human resources and purchasing departments.

Earl is also a TV host, most recently for the show “Food Fortunes,” which is similar to “Shark Tank,” with contestants pitching ideas for food-related businesses. Earl’s “Be My Guest” program appeared on the Cooking Channel, showcasing little-known restaurants around the country.

A self-described “deal junkie,” Earl said he has bought into one pitch from “Food Fortunes,” for a fast-casual Indian concept based in San Francisco that does not yet have a name.

Meanwhile, Earl sees the Earl of Sandwich chain as a growth vehicle that needs tweaking.

“I’m convinced that if I had not been doing so many other things, it would be a much larger chain now,” he said. “I’m trying to correct that.”

Earl said the company is working to build a better business model that would allow for opening costs under $300,000 per unit. The company is also beefing up its internal franchising team to grow the brand both in the U.S. and overseas.

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