Rainforest Cafe, Inc. was incorporated in Minnesota on February 3, 1994 to own
and operate restaurant and retail facilities under the name of “Rainforest Cafe
– A Wild Place to Shop and Eat.”
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Election. Lyle Berman was elected Chairman and CEO of Rainforest Cafe at its
inception in February 1994.
Background. Berman has been Chairman and CEO of Grand Casinos, Inc. and its
predecessor since October 1990. He is also CEO and a director of Stratosphere
Corporation, and a director of G-III Apparel Group Ltd., Innovative Gaming
Corporation of America and New Horizon Kids Quest, Inc. He previously was the
President and CEO of Berman Specialty Stores, Inc. (“Bermans”) from 1978 until
November 1988 when Bermans was acquired by Wilson Suede and Leather, a
subsidiary of Melville Corporation.
President and Chief Operating Officer
Election. Martin J. O’Dowd was elected in May of 1995. He is the first to hold
this position. As of November 18, 1996 O’Dowd has taken a 30 day leave of
absence for personal reasons. Dennis Nielson, analyst for R. J. Steichen,
predicts that if the leave is only 30 days there should not be a lasting impact
on the company (Nielson, November 18, 1996).
Background. O’Dowd is a director of Elephant and Castle Group, Inc. He was
previously the Corporate Director, Food & Beverage Services for Holiday Inn
Worldwide from July 1987 to May 1995. From August 1985 to July 1987, O’Dowd was
Vice President and General Operations Manager for the Hard Rock Cafe in New York.
Management Philosophy. Berman and O’Dowd stated that they are committed to
identifying and acquiring the resources that will allow them to continue their
high rate of growth.
Rainforest Cafe has two areas of each facility, the restaurant and the retail
The company believes that its large menu selection is an important factor in the
appeal of its restaurants. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner entrees which
range in price from $7.95 to $15.95. The theme of the company is mirrored on
the menu with all food and beverage selections including a jungle reference
(Annual Report, 1995).
The restaurant derived approximately 74 percent of the companies total revenue
during the 52 week period ending December 31, 1995.
In order to enter the restaurant, all customers must pass through the retail
area. The inventory includes apparel and gifts with the Rainforest Cafe logo and
other items with a rainforest theme such as toys and educational games.
The retail area derived approximately 26 percent of the companies total revenue
during the 52 week period ending December 31, 1995.
Corporate Financial Results
Net Profits and Net Sales
The company incurred a net loss during its first year, February 3, 1994
(inception) through January 1, 1995. It did not have any revenues during the
period from the inception through October 3, 1994. At that point it had only
one operating unit, at the Mall of America, until October 20, 1995, when the
Woodfield Mall unit began operations. Much of the loss is attributed to
development expenses (Hoover’s, August 25, 1996).
On April 7, 1995 the company converted $1,222,500 of promissory notes into share
of Common Stock at a conversion price of $4.00 per share. This conversion
resulted in a charge to earnings of $1,053,128, or $0.22 per share.
YearNet Profits (millions)Net Sales (millions)
1994$(1,628)$ 2,066 1995
Net Sales By Segment
The executive offices of Rainforest Cafe, Inc. are located at 720 South Fifth
Street, Hopkins, Minnesota 55343. The telephone number is 612 945-5400.
Current Operating Units
Mall of America, Bloomington, MN. This unit, which opened October 3, 1994, is
14,900 square feet with a seating capacity of 295.
Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL. This unit, which opened October 20, 1995, is
23,000 square feet with a seating capacity of 425.
Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, IL. This unit, which opened June 2, 1996, is 20,000
square feet with a seating capacity of 300.
Walt Disney World Marketplace, Lake Buena Vista, FL. This unit, which opened
July 25, 1996, is 29,000 square feet with a seating capacity of 550.
Tysons Corner Center I, McLean, VA. This unit, which opened October 3, 1996, is
17,400 square feet with a seating capacity of 375.
Sawgrass Mills, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This unit, which opened November 21, 1996,
is 19,800 square feet with a seating capacity of 400.
Future Operating Units
The company plans to open 10 new units in the US by fourth quarter 1998. In
addition it has two newly signed licensing agreements with two separate
The first agreement, with Empresas de comunicacion y Entretenimiento, a Mexican
based company, is to develop seven Rainforest Cafes in Mexico over a ten year
period. The first unit of this agreement will open in Cancun during the second
quarter of 1997.
The second agreement, with Glendola Leisure, Ltd., a London based company, is to
develop five Rainforest Cafes in the United Kingdom and Ireland over a ten year
period. The first unit of this agreement will open in London during the third
quarter of 1997 (Berry, September 6, 1996).
THE RESTAURANT AND SPECIALTY RETAIL INDUSTRY
Present Environmental Conditions
The restaurant and specialty retail businesses are highly competitive, with the
competition based primarily upon price, service, food quality, location, and
theme. There are many well-established restaurant chains which possess great
financial, marketing, personnel, and other resources.
Theme restaurants have their own highly competitive and developing market. This
market is much more susceptible to shifts in consumer preferences and frequently
experience a decline of revenue growth or of actual revenues as consumers tire
of the related theme (Hoovers, August 25, 1996).
In the retail industry competition is based primarily upon merchandise selection,
price, and consumer service.
Comparison of Rainforest Cafe, Inc. with the Industry
Rainforest Cafe, Inc. competes on a general basis with a large variety of
national and regional restaurant operations, as well as locally owned
restaurants, diners, and other establishments that offer moderately priced food.
The company also competes with a number of well-established specialty retailers.
There can be no assurance that the company will be able to respond to various
competitive factors affecting the restaurant and specialty retail industries.
At this point Rainforest Cafe, Inc. has performed considerably well in the
restaurant and specialty retail industry considering their size in the market.
They have teamed with Walt Disney World in a shrewd business move that should
change them in a very positive way. The large pull that Walt Disney World has
as an theme park should boost their marketability in other areas of the country
and possibly on an international level (Melcher, September 5, 1996).
In their 1995 Annual Report Berman and O’Dowd state that, “Rainforest Cafe is
committed to operating in an environmentally friendly manner and to raising the
awareness of environmental and wildlife issues both in its units and through
educational outreach programs.”
The report also states that they have a commitment to a broad based appeal, high
profile unit locations, high quality food, the retail area, a focus on customer
satisfaction, and attracting and retaining quality employees. They continue a
rapid expansion of locations while continuing to update their menu selections.
Marketing and Promotion
To date, Rainforest Cafe has primarily relied upon “word of mouth” advertising
to attract customers to its units. They also utilize limited outdoor billboards
and distinctive exterior signage.
Rainforest Cafe has had no layoffs or closing of units to date.
Although I am not currently seeking a career in the restaurant industry, I would
certainly consider applying for a position in the retail area of Rainforest Cafe.
They are a growing business which seems to be taking advantage of their
resources in the best possible manner. A person who climbs the ladder in a
Rainforest Cafe is sure to have job security for years to come.
In March 1996 I purchased shares of Rainforest Cafe. I plan to hold onto the
shares as they continue to grow and increase my investment.
Berry, Kate. “Rainforest Cafe Makes A Splash.” Investors Business Daily
September 6, 1996.
Melcher, Richard A. and Dale Kurschner. “Entrepreneurs: Lyle Berman.”
Business Week September 5, 1996.
Nielson, Dennis. “Rainforest Cafe,” Reuter’s Money Network Online. November
Rainforest Cafe – A Wild Place to Shop and Eat, Annual Report. Minneapolis:
“Rainforest Cafe, Inc.” Hoover’s Master List Database August 25, 1996.