Growth will follow shrinkage, acquisition of restaurant parent
THE Kincaid's and Ryan's Honolulu family will grow -- despite the loss of sibling Palomino Restaurant Rotisseria Bar at Harbor Court in February.
"Palomino ... underperformed in its downtown location," said Steve Stoddard, president and chief executive of Restaurants Unlimited Inc. The Seattle-based parent company of the Honolulu restaurants -- and more than two dozen others in 12 states -- was purchased by Florida private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. last week.
The decision not to exercise a five-year lease renewal option was "painful," as Harbor Court was "a beautiful location," but it was mutual, Stoddard said. "And they were a good landlord," he said of DGM Group Inc.
Restaurants Unlimited was not generating the wherewithal to expand, however, "with this acquisition, the thing that excites our management ... is the resources that will now be available to grow our concepts," Stoddard said.
He emerged Friday from "a two-day session in which we worked ... on our growth and real estate strategy going forward."
The plan includes, "a significant number of new restaurants in existing markets, like Honolulu."
The company has several individual restaurant concepts as well as the Kincaid's and Palomino chains.
It soon will start construction on a second location of its newest concept, Pizzeria Fondi, "an upscale casual Neapolitan-style pizzeria." It will open a couple more to test its viability as a "growth vehicle." If it is, Honolulu would be considered as a location, he said.
"Honolulu has always been a favorite market," but the rest of the state has also caught RUI's eye.
Restaurants Unlimited has done business in Honolulu since 1976, first with Horatio's (now Kincaid's) at Ward Warehouse and with Ryan's at Ward Centre in 1982. Both are charter tenants.
"We've just been blessed with our run of success," Stoddard said.
He was surprised to learn from TheBuzz, that the equally venerable Cattle Company Steakhouse closed last week, but had an assurance for guests and employees.
"We've got several years on both those options," though specifics were not at the tip of his tongue.
Honolulu's influx of new restaurants poses a challenge for eateries longer in tooth, and "when you're also part of a more mature complex, that only adds to that challenge ... but there are lots of things an operator can do to keep the business fresh and exciting," he said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com