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A Four-Star Restaurant

Nobu

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How It Works: “There’s a saying that you’re only as good as your lease,” says co-owner Drew Nieporent. “It’s true.” Cheap rent lets Nobu work a lower-price, higher-volume game than many of its top-of-the-line brethren: The median check, including alcohol, is $75. The strategy makes for 90 percent dinner occupancy and 200 to 250 meals per day. Nobu’s spinoffs, Nobu Fifty-Seven and Nobu Next Door, share office and marketing costs and lower the cost of food for the original. “It’s like buying for your famous cousin—you get a better price because suppliers know there are other restaurants,” says restaurant consultant Clark Wolf. “That’s 3 to 20 percent lower costs, which is all bottom-line money.” Most restaurants pockets a dime on the dollar; Nobu banks twice that.

Annual Revenue: $8.5 million from Tribeca location ($1.7 million is profit).

Most-Profitable Item: Black cod with miso ($20): The restaurant’s top-selling item is cheap per ounce. Cost to Nobu: about $7.

Least-Profitable Item: Toro tartare ($32): Tuna belly is extremely pricey per pound. Cost to Nobu: Depending on markets, can be $20.

Added Value: Spare Japanese design pays off: Tight seating maximizes capacity, with no pricey tablecloths to launder.


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