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Lessons From a Restaurateur

Rainforest Cafe founder's entrepreneurial adventures.

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This story appears in the February 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What does it take to make a successful restaurant? Steven Schussler ought to know. As the brains behind Rainforest Cafe, the brassy entrepreneur saw mega-success. But then the chain fell out of favor with investors, and Rainforest sold in 2000 at well below book value to national operator Landry's Restaurants Inc.

Now the team at Schussler Creative in Golden Valley, Minnesota, is back with a new high-concept restaurant: T-Rex. The interactive, dinosaur-themed eatery--a hybrid restaurant and museum attraction--opened its first unit last July at The Legends mall in Kansas City, Kansas, with local government footing more than half the $15 million cost. Initial buzz is strong: Before T-Rex debuted, Landry's took an 80 percent stake.

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