At Nobu, customers really like surprises

They’re not afraid to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a meal, but sometimes it’s just a T-shirt they really want.

When it comes to Nobu lore, there’s a mystique surrounding the restaurant empire. For instance, there’s the man who spent $100,000 a month there in New York City, and the jet-setting client who travels to Nobu openings anywhere in the world.

When customers transform into fans, it’s good for business.

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s empire stretches into five continents, with 27 restaurants spanning the globe from Melbourne, Australia, to Dallas.

At the Caesars Palace location, an average of $120 is spent per person, with about 533 people dining each night. That’s an average of $63,960 spent each evening . If that business volume is representative of all locations, Nobu is a $1.73 million-a-night business.

The Las Vegas Nobu’s clientele is a mix of celebrity — Howard Stern is a huge fan — and well-to-do commoners.

Each Nobu features the omakase, with diners leaving their seven-course tasting completely up to the chef after choosing a price tier.

The price can go as high as a customer wants, depending on what’s on hand in the kitchen.

In Las Vegas, high rollers push the envelope. Bryan Shinohara, general manager of the Caesars Palace location, said he has seen a wagyu beef banquet on the teppanyaki grill cost $688 per person and a tasting menu cost $450 per person.

“You can be asked four or five basic questions, and then, based on how you answer those questions, they’ll know exactly how to custom-tailor the menu, and everything you have will blow you away, and it will accommodate all of your likes and cravings for the evening,” said Shinohara, a 12-year employee.

Not only is the rotating menu a draw, but diners flock to the restaurants because of their quirky or temporary features.

For example, you can order the only Nobu breakfast available at the in-room dining at the Nobu Hotel in Caesars. It has eggs Matsuhisa, blueberry and yuzu soba pancakes or breakfast okonomiyaki. In Monaco, there’s a two-week, pop-up Nobu open during the Formula One races, and the Nobu empire also operates a mobile venue on Crystal Cruises. There are three seasonal locations, one each in Switzerland, the Hamptons in New York and Mykonos, Greece.

“My research and others has shown the biggest factor in creating loyalty is an emotional commitment or attachment to the brand,” said Sarah Tanford, assistant professor at the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Tanford said people are more than willing to pay more for the brand, even if something similar costs less and is readily available.

To build that emotional attachment with a customer, Tanford said, businesses need to make people feel special.

“Each person wants to feel like they’re being treated not like everyone else,” she said.

Shinohara said the Hard Rock’s Nobu has developed a strong following since it opened in 1999. The Caesars location opened in February and already has regulars. Both restaurants have reviews on Yelp, but the Hard Rock location has more than 600.

Corey Tess of Columbus, Ohio, posted on Yelp in June that she’s a “huge” Nobu fan and has been to the restaurants in Las Vegas, New York City, the Bahamas, Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles and Malibu Calif.

“My dream still includes hitting the Tokyo Nobu and the Monte Carlo Nobu,” she wrote.

Her story is reminiscent of one of Shinohara’s. He tells of running into a Las Vegas regular when he was helping to open the Moscow restaurant.

“There was a young lady that was a regular at the Nobu from Las Vegas. I was just walking by her table and kind of locked eyes,” he said.

The globe-hopping diner had just eaten at a new Nobu in South Africa and stopped for dinner in Moscow on her way to a Nobu that just opened in Dubai.

In another tale, a couple coming to Caesars in October is headed to Nobu in New York City two days before, then going to the Malibu location two days later.

Another duo loves Nobu so much they got married at Caesars Palace so that they could stay at the Nobu Hotel and have their four-person reception in the restaurant, with a custom menu and two-tiered Nobu wedding cake.

Then there’s the legend of the gentleman in New York City who spends $100,000 per month at Nobu.

“He had a party here at the Hard Rock a few years ago. We got a call from one of the owners saying whatever he wants, he gets. When you get a call like that, they’re not joking ,” Shinohara said.

But what the diners seem to really want is a keepsake.

“Anything that has Nobu on it, you really can’t keep in the restaurant,” Shinohara said.

Customers often ask to buy T-shirts, chef hats or sake cups. For the record, no Nobu T-shirts are available.

“The requests are pretty strange, sometimes,” Shinohara said.

One guest wanted to buy an abalone shell. Another wanted to buy the fork a celebrity had just finished using.

“Of course we didn’t sell the fork, but that might be the weirdest thing,” Shinohara said.

Then there are the Nobu knockoffs.

“I’ve seen executive chefs and general managers come in and ask what are your eight signature dishes and what are your most popular. And then they order all of those, take them, then their restaurant opens and it’s the exact same thing. Even to the plating,” Shinohara said.

He said the two Las Vegas restaurants are doing well, although the Caesars location probably has taken a little off the top of the Hard Rock’s customer base.

“In Las Vegas, the newest thing is always the hottest thing,” he said.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like