Rainforest Cafe

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Rainforest Cafe
Subsidiary
Industry Restaurants
Founded Minneapolis, Minnesota (1994)
Founder Steven Schussler
Headquarters Houston, Texas, U.S.
Number of locations
32 restaurants
Key people
Steven Schussler,Founder
Tilman J. FertittaChairman, President, and CEO
Products Pasta, Seafood, Salad, Sandwiches, Dessert; Merchandise[1]
Revenue Increase US $108 million (1997)[2]
Increase $12 million (1997)[3]
Parent Landry's Restaurants
Website RainforestCafe.com

Rainforest Cafe is a themed restaurant chain owned by Landry's, Inc. of Houston, Texas. It was founded by entrepreneur Steven Schussler. The first location opened in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota on February 3, 1994. By 1997, the chain consisted of six restaurants, all in the United States. In 1998, it was planned to build 12 additional restaurants in the United States, seven in Mexico, and five in the UK, for a total of 22 restaurants by 2008.[4]

In 2000, the Rainforest Cafe was bought by Landry's Restaurants Inc., a company specializing in dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming, based in Houston, Texas.[5] To date the company owns restaurants in the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the U.A.E., and Japan. Rainforest Cafe focuses on local tourism for a majority of their income.[6]

Themed ambiance[edit]

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Each Rainforest Cafe restaurant is designed to depict some features of a tropical rainforest, including plant growth; mist; waterfalls; and figures of rainforest animals, including elephants, frogs, gorillas, jaguars, tigers, and tropical birds. To enhance this theme, some of the figures are animatronic, manufactured by Russells Creative, LLC of Apopka, Florida.[7] The star ceilings are designed and manufactured by Fiber Optic Systems Inc, located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.[8]

Most locations also have themed exteriors as well as interiors. The Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney, Orlando, is located under a large artificial volcano which erupts during the simulated thunderstorms. Others, such as the locations in Atlantic City; Anaheim; and Niagara Falls, New York; have the appearance of ancient jungle ruins. Mall locations usually have waterfalls and simulated plant growth outside of them, visible to those who pass in the mall. Nearly all locations have a 'wishing pond', usually with an animatronic crocodile, where guests are invited to toss coins, aiming for the crocodile's mouth.

The restaurants are partitioned into several rooms by means of rain curtains that fall into basins running along the tops of partition walls and booths and aquatic tanks. One portion of most locations includes a bar located underneath an enormous mushroom. The chain is known for its characteristic barstools, made to resemble the legs of animals, designed and sculpted by the artist Glenn Carter.[9]

The interior of the Rainforest Cafe in Dubai Mall, Dubai.

The staff of Rainforest Cafe are named in accordance with the rainforest theme. Waiters are called Safari Guides, hosts and hostesses are Tour Guides, sales clerks are Pathfinders, bartenders are Navigators, bussers are Safari Assistants, and kitchen staff are Trailblazers.

In all restaurants, located in the Retail Village, Rainforest Cafe has an animatronic tree named "Tracy Tree." The tree entertains guests every 5 minutes educating them about the rainforest.[10] Rainforest themed merchandise is sold in the gift shop, mostly printed by the Atlanta-based fashion apparel company, Boxercraft Inc.[11] Toys including stuffed toys and action figures of the restaurant mascots are sold as well.

Rainforest cafe also has a set of mascots, called "The Wild Bunch". These characters include Cha! Cha!, the red eye tree frog; Iggy, the iguana; Nile, the crocodile; Rio, a macaw; Maya, the jaguar; Tuki, the elephant; Bamba, the Gorilla; and Ozzie, the orangutan. These eight characters can be found on children's menus, merchandise, as well as the company logo (which lacks Tuki and Ozzie, though older logos may include Ozzie).

Menu[edit]

Rainforest Cafe serves food ranging from seafood, beef, and chicken to pastas and pizzas.[12] Dishes are named in accordance to the Rainforest Theme including the "Rainforest Burger", "Tribal Salmon", and "Amazon Fajitas". They may also be named based on Wild Bunch characters, such as the "Chimi-cha-cha" or "Bamba's Barbecue Wrap".

Rainforest Café generally serves Coca-Cola products, as well as ICEE. On the Kids menu there is an option to use a collector's cup for the ICEE.[13] Formerly called the "Pacific Rainbow", the cup now has a character head on top. A cup featuring Cha! Cha! is available indefinitely however other characters are made for the cups for about a year. All characters except Bamba have been made so far. The bottom of these cups includes a screw-off compartment which houses a free action figure of the Wild Bunch character which the cup features on top.

Rainforest Café has a variety of desserts as well. Offered are a "Safari Sundae" and on the kids menu "Lava Mud" which is a pudding with chocolate cookies in it with gummy worms to emulate dirt. The largest and most popular dessert, however, is the Volcano. A volcano is made of three wedge-shaped brownies with vanilla ice cream between them and whipped topping on top, drizzled with both chocolate and caramel sauce. Volcanoes were once served with a sparkler on top which the diner would blow out however it was replaced by a wooden rod with shiny ornamentation on it. Many locations, however, do insert and light a candle if it is in celebration of a party member's birthday. There is also the tradition of yelling "volcano!" by the wait staff every time a volcano is ordered.[14]

Locations[edit]

American locations[edit]

A typical sign outside of a Rainforest Café.
Rainforest Cafe sign outside Opry Mills Mall in Nashville.

(*U.S. restaurants officially generate $80 million in annual revenue for Disney.)

International locations[edit]

Future locations[edit]

  • Las Vegas, Nevada - Harmon Corner- to open in Summer of 2015
  • Jakarta, Indonesia - Plaza Senayan 5th floor - to open in November 2015

Former locations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rainforest Cafe". Landry's Inc. Landry's Inc. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rainforest Cafe, Inc. History". Funding Universe. Funding Universe. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rainforest Cafe, Inc. History". Funding Universe. Funding Universe. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Rainforest Cafe". The River Walk Guide. The San Antonio River Walk Guide. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Landry’s, Inc – Finding Success on All Fronts". Who We Are. Landry's Inc. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Rainforest Cafe". The River Walk Guide. The San Antonio River Walk Guide. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Furry Creatures". UCFab International. UCFab International, LLC. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Retail and Commercial Projects". Client List. Fiber Optic Systems, Inc. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Bellevue sculptor goes down the rabbit hole". Idaho Mountain Express. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "It;s a Jungle In There: Rainforest Cafe". Press Releases. Landry's Inc. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Cooper, Janice. "Rainforest Cafe - A Wild Experience". RateIt. RateIt. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Rainforest Cafe". Landry's Inc. Landry's Inc. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Rainforest Cafe® at Downtown Disney Marketplace". Disney Parks and Travel. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Dinnertime In The Wild Jungle". TPI ORLANDO - Rainforest Cafe. Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Locations". Rainforest Cafe. Rainforest Cafe. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Locations". Rainforest Cafe. Rainforest Cafe. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 

External links[edit]