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2017 RH 25: The Wolfgang Puck Group

Wolfgang Puck is one of the best-known names in American fine dining.

This year, Restaurant Hospitality collected the 25 most powerful multiconcept operators across the country, or what we call the RH 25. With this list, there is no ranking. All 25 are powerful, and all 25 are companies to watch. See all concepts >>

HQ: Los Angeles

Leadership: Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff, co-founders; Tom Kaplan, senior managing partner; Joe Essa, president of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide; Lee Hefter, managing partner and executive chef; Alex Resnik, senior operations partner; David Robins, operations and corporate chef; Carl Schuster, CEO of Wolfgang Puck Catering

Concepts: More than 100 restaurants in the U.S., Singapore, London, Bahrain and Istanbul, including Spago (5 units), Cut (6 units), Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (3 units), and WP24.

Group systemwide sales: Not disclosed

What’s new: Test kitchen Rogue opened in April. A seventh unit of Cut is scheduled for the Mondrian Hotel in Doha. Various casual concepts are also planned in 2018, in airports around the world.

No sign of slowing down

Wolfgang Puck is one of the best-known names in American fine dining.

He was one of the nation’s first celebrity chefs, and he helped put California cuisine on the culinary map. This year, Puck was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It has been 35 years since Puck opened Spago, first in West Hollywood, Calif., and later moving to Beverly Hills. Redesigned in 2012, Spago remains a cornerstone of the Los Angeles dining scene.

Antonio Diaz

Since then, Puck has built a global empire. The group now includes three distinct companies: the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Wolfgang Puck Catering and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, which includes branded housewares and retail products.

Earlier this year, Puck opened Rogue, a test kitchen at the company’s headquarters in West Hollywood, offering a tasting menu for only eight people each night. The concept is meant to be a collaboration with the group’s chefs, with chef-in-residence Alan Latourelle at the helm.

Meanwhile, the high-end steakhouse Cut continues as a growth vehicle within the fine-dining group, with a seventh location scheduled to open at the Mondrian Hotel in Doha later this year.

The group is also planning new casual concepts for airports.

Expect more from Puck, who remains actively involved, but who has also built a deep bench of managing partners and chefs to take the company into the future.

Next: Commander’s Family of Restaurants
Previous: Alta Group

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