Dec 31, 2011

Profesional Athletes and Their Restaurants

Many think that professional athletes are people living their dream. They are paid with huge amount of money (from salary and endorsements) to do something that they like. However, athletes' life isn't easy, as they must train hard everyday and keep a strict healthy lifestyle. Even with all of that, their career span is short, as we rarely seen athletes still in their peak performances when they're above 32-year-old.

For a reason to create a post-career business opportunity, many professional athletes started a business using their brand image, and restaurant is one of the most favorites choices. Those athlete-owned restaurants usually have a little-bit sport theme for the decoration, which added with some memorabilia of the athlete. However, most of them are just a generic restaurants, without any trademark or special dishes. Also, don't expect that you're gonna see your favorite sport stars in their restaurants, as they rarely, or even never, visited their business.

Greg Norman in his restaurant
(photo from

Here are some example of athlete-owned restaurants in America:

Brett Favre's Steakhouse
Dishes: Steak
Location: Green Bay, WI
Owner: Brett Favre (NFL)

Wayne Gretzky's
Dishes: American bar food and Canadian food
Location: Toronto, ON
Owner: Wayne Gretzky (NHL)

Arnold Palmer's
Dishes: Seafood, steak, Arnie's favorites
Location: La Quinta, CA
Owner: Arnold Palmer (PGA/Golf)

Strawberry's Sports Grill
Dishes: Ballpark food, various variations of beer
Location: Queens, NY
Owner: Darryl Strawberry (MLB)

Yao Bar and Retaurant
Dishes: Chinese cuisine
Location: Houston, TX
Owner: Yao Ming (NBA)

Greg Norman's Australian Grille
Dishes: Australian grille
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Owner: Greg Norman (PGA/Golf)

Market Del Mar
Dishes: Californian fare
Location: Del Mar, CA
Owner: Tony Hawk (Skateboard)

Annie Laura’s Kitchen
Dishes: American
Location: River Dale, GA
Owner: Evander Holyfield (Boxing)

Unfortunately, even if the restaurants owned (or co-owned) by athletes and use their images, the fact is still many of them are unable to get enough customers and had to be closed. Besides don't have a winning menu, most of them are closed because the athletes didn't spend enough time in marketing efforts and promotional appearances.

Here are some athlete-owned restaurants that had to be closed:

D Wade's Sports Grill
Location: Boca Raton and Ft Lauderdale, FL
Athlete: Dwayne Wade (NBA)
Closed: 2008

Hulk Hogan's Pastamania
Location: The Mall of America in Bloomington, MN
Athlete: Hulk Hogan (Wrestling)
Closed: 1995

Larry Bird's Boston Connection Restaurant
Location: Terre Haute, IN
Athlete: Larry Bird (NBA)
Closed: 2000

Pete Rose's Ballpark Cafe
Location: Boynton Beach, FL
Athlete: Pete Rose (MLB)
Closed: 2009

Bernie Kosar's Steakhouse
Location: Miami, FL
Athlete: Bernie Kosar (NFL)
Closed: 2009

Michael Jordan's Restaurant
Location: Chicago, IL
Athlete: Michael Jordan (NBA)
Closed: 1999

According to a survey cited by Forbes, 60 percent of restaurants fail in three years. It's proven that the name alone won't make a restaurant's success, especially when those pro athletes agreed to put their name on restaurant and cafe business without controlling the menu, location, and service.

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