Tilman Joseph Fertitta
(born June 25, 1957) is an American businessman and the founder, chairman of the board, President, CEO and primary shareholder of Landry's Restaurants. He is also a member of the board of regents of the University of Houston System. In 2012 Fertitta was one of 21 newcomers to the 2012 list of the Worldâs Billionaires. Ranked at number 854 with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Fertitta was born and raised in Galveston, Texas, where his family had settled generations after emigrating to Louisiana and Texas from Sicily.
Fertitta attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston where he studied business administration and hospitality management. He showed an entrepreneurial streak even in college when he started his own firm focused on marketing and sales and, after college, development and construction. From there, Fertitta began building homes while selling Shaklee vitamins on the side. He moved full-time into foodservice in 1986 working as a real estate specialist for Landry's. It was only a few short months before he bought the chain. Initially, he was not the largest advocate for Landry's as a restaurant, but agreed that they had great food. He saw potential, and knew he could make it his own. In 1988 he became the sole owner, buying out the Landry's brothers and other investors. After some early troubles, Fertitta expanded the chain to include nearly a dozen restaurant chains and individual entities.
Referred to by Forbes as The World's Richest Restauranteur, Fertitta is an extremely successful business man. He attributes his successes to the privatization of his restaurants, ensuring he could invest in any properties he thought suitable. He believes it is not necessarily the quality of the food served at a restaurant that brings in the money, but the location. Placing most of his restaurants on the coast, he realizes that people want to enjoy seafood, by the sea. But his restaurant success does not end there, he has also acquired the well known Rainforest Cafe, which earned him the title of âa brash, arrogant, bargain-basement, bottom-feeing acquisition nemesis.â Words spoken by the previous owner and founder of Rainforest Cafe.
Along with his business savvy, Fertitta is known for his cut-throat attitude. He focuses on companies that are going under, that he knows need his help to get on their feet, purchases them and makes them his own. Taking ownership of every restaurant on the Kemah Boardwalk in Texas, he turned the small shrimping attraction into âthe Land of Landry'sâ, into a popular theme park.
As the economy improves, Fertitta is seeing fewer chances to make his moves. He has turned his attention to casinos, an industry which he is already both familiar, and successful with. Purchasing the Trump Marina in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 2011, he rebranded it as the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. He has plans to renovate and rebrand another property in Biloxi, Mississippi as a Golden Nugget.
Fertitta now operates 56 brands and 421 locations. He owns the Golden Nugget Casinos, Houston's Kemah Boardwalk, the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio and the San Luis Resort in Galveston. Using Landry's as his crutch, he entered into the restaurant world as an investor and has come out a complete success. He is a minor partner in the Houston Texans NFL franchise and owns Houston's Bentley and Rolls Royce dealership, Post Oak Motor Cars, Ltd. He has recently joined the 2012 list of the World's Billionaires, with a net worth of $1.5 billion dollars.
Charity and Public Service
Fertitta is involved in a number of philanthropic and civic endeavors. Fertitta was appointed to the Board of Regents of the University of Houston System in 2009 by Texas Governor Rick Perry and will serve through August 31, 2015.
Fertitta currently serves as Chairman of the Houston Childrenâs Charity, the Houston Police Foundation and is on the Executive Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He also serves on the following boards: Texas Heart Institute, Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Greater Houston Partnership.
Tilman Fertitta and Eva Longoria
In August, 2012, Fertitta partnered with celebrity Eva Longoria, opening the Las Vegas restaurant and club, SHe. The establishment is designed to cater to fashionistas, clubbers and celebrities, planned to open December 30, 2012, the club actually held its grand opening February 2, 2013.
His family includes Sam and Rosario Maceo who rose from humble beginnings to become prominent in Galveston's notorious nightlife scene in the mid-1900s before branching out to Las Vegas, Nevada. His cousins are Station Casinos owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta. Tilman Fertitta joined the ranks of casino owners himself when Landry's purchased the historic Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas as well as the location in Laughlin, Nevada. He has two brothers Victor Fertitta and Todd Fertitta. Both work for Landry's.
Fertitta lives in the River Oaks area of Houston along with his wife, Paige, and their children: Michael, Patrick, Blayne, and Blake. Tilman had to ask Paige three times to marry him before she finally said yes.
Source @ Wikipedia