SEVERE WX : Excessive Heat Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Behind Robert de Niro's Nobu empire

Film fans are familiar with Robert De Niro's Oscar-winning roles -- but fewer people know that he is also an...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 7:56 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 7:56 AM

Film fans are familiar with Robert De Niro's Oscar-winning roles -- but fewer people know that he is also an astute businessman.

The American actor and director co-founded the first Nobu, an upmarket Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant, in 1994.

Today, De Niro and his co-founders -- celebrity chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa and film producer and entrepreneur Meir Teper -- own 39 restaurants and eight luxury hotels across five continents. Their lifestyle brand Nobu Hospitality was founded in 2009.

The latest additions to the group? Three Nobu Hotels: properties in London's trendy Shoreditch and Ibiza, Spain, opened in 2017, followed by a Marbella hotel, in Spain, this year.

De Niro believes that comparisons can be drawn between his two passions -- the film and hospitality industries.

"They both have budgets, they're creative in different ways. It's like any enterprise. The movies are a business of a sort," he told CNNMoney.

"You have to spend money ... If things are sacrificed too much, too many times, then it somehow suffers."

Related: How a top actor went from action films to baking cookies

It all began 31 years ago, when De Niro stepped foot in Matsuhisa restaurant in Los Angeles.

Originally from Japan, Nobu Matsuhisa worked in Peru and Argentina before moving to the US. He opened Matsuhisa in 1987.

De Niro wanted to convince Matsuhisa to open in his hometown. "I said [to Matsuhisa], if you ever want to open a restaurant in New York, let me know," De Niro told CNNMoney.

De Niro, who was already in the restaurant business -- he co-owns the Tribeca Grill in New York City, which opened in 1990 -- introduced Matsuhisa's food to Teper.

In 1994, they opened Nobu, in New York's Tribeca, in 1994. From there, "it just grew and grew," De Niro said.

"[When a] customer comes into my restaurant -- they trust our quality of food," Matsuhisa told CNNMoney.

Related: Sofia Vergara is TV's best-paid actress -- and a business maven

What started as a shared love of food soon expanded from the restaurant business into hotels.

"I pushed for the hotel thing because it made common sense -- it was so simple," De Niro said. "Lets just tell the people in certain locations that ... we'll do a restaurant with a hotel, so then people started going along with that. We had nothing to lose."

Nobu Hospitality hopes to reach $1 billion in revenue in the next five years, according to the group.

Currently there are eight hotels in the pipeline. Next on the list is Nobu Residences -- luxury condominiums located atop a Nobu restaurant in Toronto. The development is expected to be completed in late 2019.

Matsuhisa believes that having "very strong teams" means he's ready to "go to the next challenge."

"If you are ever lucky enough to have anything be successful ... make sure you don't short change yourself," said De Niro.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 101050

Reported Deaths: 3895
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles487612201
Riverside7139303
San Diego6882249
Orange5646136
San Bernardino4567176
Alameda304993
Santa Clara2688140
San Francisco240840
San Mateo196382
Kern194136
Tulare179679
Santa Barbara160412
Fresno153526
Contra Costa137537
Imperial135224
Sacramento131956
Ventura101732
San Joaquin77133
Kings6983
Stanislaus67028
Sonoma5244
Solano49920
Monterey4298
Marin42014
Merced2737
San Luis Obispo2631
Santa Cruz2052
Yolo20022
Placer1949
Napa1093
Humboldt982
Madera902
El Dorado800
San Benito762
Sutter422
Nevada411
Butte400
Del Norte400
Shasta374
Mono351
Yuba281
Mendocino230
Lake190
Inyo191
Mariposa161
Calaveras150
Glenn130
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Lassen40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 103° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Oroville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 104° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Paradise
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Chester
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 49°
Red Bluff
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 104° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Willows
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 107° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Today a heat wave continues but tomorrow night rain moves in, lasting into Saturday with much cooler temperatures. We warm up again on Tuesday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events