With any successful business venture, you typically start with a vision, a strategic plan and a detailed timeline to see the venture to fruition. In our case, we just needed a name — as in “Nobu.”
Four Seasons and acclaimed celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa opened Nobu Lana’i at Manele Bay in a record-breaking six weeks — or, as I like to think of it, 1,008 hours. While the restaurant’s opening strategy may not replace traditional long-lead plans, it was certainly the most successful and smooth restaurant opening I have ever witnessed. The short order of it — it CAN be done!
Looking back, a six-week restaurant opening was highly ambitious. At the time, we challenged ourselves and decided to open a branded celebrity restaurant — on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, no less. Once we committed, our minds were consumed with excitement, adrenaline and the challenge of making it all happen.
The team worked around the clock — all 1,008 hours, that is. From designers, to kitchen consultants, to crafters, to the HR and F&B team hiring and training, to chefs — it was a myriad of talents that contributed to the creation of Nobu Lana’i.
Everyone was invested and shared the same goal. In the short six-week preopening, the team totally reinvented the previous restaurant space with new walls, flooring, customized artwork and a new state-of-the-art kitchen, and we welcomed Nobu Lana’i to our Four Seasons’ “Ohana” (the Hawaiian name for family). The preopening generated lots of media news articles and an overwhelming amount of buzz among our guests. As cliché as it sounds, we knew then, “If we build it, they will come.”
On December 22, 2012, Nobu Lana’i — the first and only Nobu restaurant in the Four Seasons’ portfolio — joined a long list of Chef Nobu’s global outposts from New York and Moscow to Cape Town and Hong Kong.
Nobu Lana’i, as with chef’s other masterpieces, showcases Nobu’s signature new-style Japanese cuisine in an island-chic setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, we now also feature Nobu By The Pool, the only place in the world where guests can enjoy Nobu rolls while luxuriating poolside — innovation at its best.
Almost five months later, the restaurant is bustling, and the feedback has been phenomenal. In addition to legendary cuisine, the recipe for success was truly innovative. The team believed in the brand, the product and each other.
Whether embarking on a new opening or renovation, believe in your product and believe in your team. Anything is possible, even if you only have 1,008 hours to spare!