Robert Ian Leigh
29 May 1951
|Net worth||US$240 million (2014)|
|Children||Beth, Cara, Robbie|
Robert Earl (born 29 May 1951) is a British-American businessman who is the founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood, Chairman of the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and host of Robert Earl's Be My Guest television program which airs weekly on the Cooking Channel.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Business career and investments
- 2.1 President Entertainment
- 2.2 Pleasurama PLC and Hard Rock Cafe
- 2.3 Planet Hollywood
- 2.4 Earl of Sandwich
- 2.5 Everton Football Club
- 2.6 Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurants
- 2.7 Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria Restaurants
- 2.8 Chicken Guy!
- 3 Entertainment Media
- 4 Personal life
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Robert Earl was born Robert Ian Leigh, son of British entertainer Robert Earl. Earl grew up in Hendon and was educated at the local school, but also travelled around a great deal in the UK, Europe and the United States, following his father's career.
Earl graduated from the University of Surrey with an honours degree in Hotel and Catering Management. In 2012, he set up the Robert Earl Scholarship, awarded each year to 14 students across the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, worth up to £2,500 each.
Business career and investments
Earl began his career with his first Beefeater medieval theatre-themed restaurant in 1972. With its success, Earl opened additional themed restaurants, The Cockney Club, Shakespeare's Tavern, and Talk of London, close by in the late 1970s. Seeing the US market as having more growth potential, he attempted to sell the concepts to developers working on the Disney's EPCOT, but the deal fell through. He stayed to opened several theme-restaurants with medieval and Wild West concepts in the Orlando market. Amongst those themed restaurants in central Florida were Caruso's Palace (now Race Rock), King Henry's Feast and the original Shakespeare's Tavern on Church Street.
Earl quickly grew the business into a restaurant empire totalling 70 restaurants by the time he merged his company President Entertainment with Pleasurama PLC, a London-based leisure group, in 1987. The transaction yielded Earl $63 million.
Pleasurama PLC and Hard Rock Cafe
Joining the board, he was tasked to undertake the purchase of Hard Rock Cafe. After quickly becoming the brand's CEO, Earl grew Hard Rock from 7 to 22 units in just 5 years, resulting in the eventual sale of the brand to Rank Group. Earl was also a director of Pelican Group PLC, which owns the Café Rouge, Dôme, and Mamma Amalfi brands. leaving the company after its sale to Whitbread PLC.
Planet Hollywood Restaurants
In 1991, Earl founded Planet Hollywood, negotiating celebrity investments from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, and partnerships including Demi Moore, and Sylvester Stallone. Earl has since bought it back from Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice, but he still owns a large amount of stock with original investors Schwarzenegger and Willis, alongside new Asian investors.
Planet Hollywood Hotels
In June 2003, in partnership with Bay Harbour Management LC and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Earl purchased the Aladdin Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. In 2007 it was relaunched as the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. In 2010, Earl sold the property to Caesars Entertainment, but retained the brands license.
Earl of Sandwich
In 2004, Robert Earl, Lord John Montagu, and Orlando Montagu founded Earl of Sandwich, a series of sandwich shops, and opened the first location at Downtown Disney. Earl of Sandwich has since become a franchise with 36 locations, and Earl serves as the Chairman.
Everton Football Club
In October 2006, Earl became a 23% owner and director of English Premier League club Everton, buying the shareholding of Paul and Anita Gregg via his BCR Sports investment vehicle registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurants
In 2008, he acquired the casual dining company Buca di Beppo and its chain of 88 restaurants, which serve family-style Italian fare. Earl, Chairman of Buca, has expanded the chain of Italian restaurants into new locations in both the US and internationally. Buca di Beppo features dishes from villages in Northern and Southern Italy and is equally famous for its quirky décor and upbeat atmosphere.
Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria Restaurants
Host of Robert Earl's Be My Guest television program
As Host of Robert Earl's Be My Guest, Earl travels the world exploring popular restaurants and dishes out his knowledge from decades in the dining industry. The series premiered in September 2014 and airs weekly on the Cooking Channel. The show's success was celebrated with a primetime marathon in February 2015.
Recurring Investor on the Food Fortunes television program
On the Food Fortunes television program, food visionaries pitch their products to a rotating panel of Investors, who are some of the biggest names in the food, online and retail industry. Earl is a recurring castmember during Season 1, as a member of the Panel of Investors. The series, which premiered on 9 March 2015, airs weekly on the Food Network.
Guest Judge during Season 1 of On The Menu television program
In 2014, Robert Earl was a guest judge on two episodes of the television series On the Menu, which was produced by Mark Burnett and aired on TNT television network. Each episode features contestants battle to create a dish to put on the menu of a national restaurant chain. Two Episodes of On the Menu centred around restaurant chains owned by Robert Earl, for which he served on the panel of judges deciding the winner. In Season 1 Episode 4, the final challenge was creating a dessert for Earl's Planet Hollywood restaurants. In Season 1 Episode 9, the final challenge was creating a pasta dish for Earl's Buca di Beppo restaurants.
- Guest on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers on 16 December 2014.
- Interviewed on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. on 3 November 2014
- Interviewed on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. on 10 September 2014
- Interviewed on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. on 20 August 2014
- Final Judge for the 2012 Miss USA Pageant, which was broadcast on NBC on 3 June 2012 and was filmed at his Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
- Appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri and Joey Fatone. Visited Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando, Florida.
- Executive Producer of Wild Card (2015) starring Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Milo Ventimiglia, Hope Davis, and Stanley Tucci.
- Executive Producer of The Expendables 3 (2014) starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Co-Producer of The Expendables 2 (2012) starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Co-Producer of The Expendables (2010) starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Steve Austin and Mickey Rourke.
- "Hotel/Restaurant Mogul Robert Earl Wants You to Be His Guest". HuffPost. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Robert Earl Talks Everton Football". NBC. Archived from the original on 21 March 2015.
- "Leyton Orient live it up in Las Vegas as reward for FA Cup exploits". Daily Mail.
- "Earl of Sandwich seeks to expand with new St. Petersburg prototype". Tampa Bay Times.
- "Robert Ian Earl". Business Week. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Robert Earl Be My Guest premieres Monday, Sept. 8 on the Cooking Channel". Orlando Sentinel. 6 September 2014.
- Victoria Prever (1 December 2011). "Hendon to Herts via Hollywood". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Robert Earl Scholarship". University of Surrey. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Time's 25 Most Influential Americans". Time. 24 June 2001.
- "History of Planet Hollywood International, Inc.". International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 41. St. James Press. 2001. Retrieved 15 June 2018 – via FundingUniverse.
- Kuhn, Brad (27 May 1996). "Stars Have Cameo Role For Company". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
- "Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. History". International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 32. St. James Press. 2000. Retrieved 15 June 2018 – via FundingUniverse.
- "Robert Earl". Everton F.C. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- Ornstein, David (21 October 2006). "Planet Hollywood founder buys 23% shareholding in Everton". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- "Confirmed: Farhad Moshiri's Everton investment ratified by Premier League". Liverpool Echo. LiverpoolEcho.com. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- "How much is Moshiri's 49.9% stake in Everton worth?". SB Nation. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- "Buca di Beppo Restaurant Directory". Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant and Banquet Facility.
- "GGP Press Release". ggp.com.
- Graham, Jordan (6 June 2018). "Bertucci's 'very expandable,' new owner says". Boston Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Comeau, Zachary (5 June 2018). "Bertucci's sold at bankruptcy for $20M". Worcester Business Journal.
- Reilly, Mark (10 September 2019). "Guy Fieri's Chicken Guy restaurant coming to Mall of America". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- "US Weekly". Us_Weekly. 13 February 2015.
- "Press Release for launch of Food Fortunes". Food Network. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "On The Menu Website". TNT Television Network. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "On The Menu: Planet Hollywood – Season 1, Episode 4". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "On The Menu: Buca di Beppo – Season 1, Episode 9". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "1st Half of Earl Interview". Late Night with Seth Meyers. NBC. 16 December 2014. Archived from the original on 21 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "2nd Half of Earl Interview". Late Night with Seth Meyers. NBC. 16 December 2014. Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Varney & Co. 3-Nov-14". Fox Business Network. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Varney & Co. 10-Sep-14". Fox Business Network. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Varney & Co. 20-Aug-14". Fox Business Network. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "MetroWest restaurant Mrs. Potato to be featured on 'Diners, Drive Ins and Dives'". orangeobserver.com. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- "Robert Earl's Profile on IMDB". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Robert Earl". Orlando Sentinel. 14 April 1996.