Scott Barnett
An experienced industry player with over 30 years of restaurant operations and financing experience guiding your group to the top.

Scott Barnett
An experienced industry player with over 30 years of restaurant operations and financing experience guiding your group to the top.

"If you can manage and lead restaurants- either a chain or just one- you can manage almost anything"
Scott Barnett brings an unsurpassed level of restaurant operations and finance expertise to his consulting work. With over 30 years in the restaurant business, he has worked at every level of the industry, starting as a line cook in college to eventually becoming the CEO of several restaurant chains, including founder of the world-renowned Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

This depth and breadth of business knowledge pays dividends to his clients, be it local single operators, blue chip companies or private equity firms and investors. He is considered a go-to guy in the industry for turning restaurants around, and is internationally recognized as an expert on transactions, branding, concept development and restaurant operations.
Coming Up In The Industry
"I had seen what was the perfect combination of business and community, and I believed I could make it happen again."
The hours flew by the first hot night Scott was thrown into a busboy position at a Palm Desert restaurant. Still in his teens, he knew right away that this was the business for him. It struck him how working alongside fascinating people to create a great food and service experience for customers was exhilarating. He was hooked. The passion for the industry, and the view that the restaurant business was the perfect combination of business and community, would never leave him.

He became a restaurant manager by age 20, and in his younger years worked every imaginable position in all sorts of restaurants. He saw many mismanaged restaurants and all of the problems common to the business, from the mundane, like poor customer service, to the specularly awful, like employee theft rings. These years were the school of hard knocks, the in-the-trenches lessons that would pave the way for a thriving career at C-level positions at big-name restaurant companies.
Extended a Branded Concept into Gold
"I knew instinctively that something risky was exactly what we needed to do."
At Rusty Pelican Restaurants, a chain of upscale seafood eateries, he was promoted to CEO of the company and immediately filed it for reorganization. Through a series of moves, he and his team saved the company from financial ruin. Leveraging the company's position, he then took a gamble to do something that had never been done before: take a movie and turn it into a restaurant.

What he oversaw was novel concept development territory for a restaurant. Movies had licensing agreements with eateries for short-term promotions, but never had a new restaurant been entirely a movie-based concept. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company would be based on the fictional shrimp company in the movie Forrest Gump.

Between helping to orchestrate the licensing agreement with Paramount, massaging investor relations, maximizing Rusty Pelican capital, selecting a feasible site, creating the menu, and establishing the brand and culture, Scott oversaw the establishment of the first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. From the first day it opened, with lines around the block, it was clear the venture was on the path to success.

Realizing his team had created a winner, Scott capitalized on the momentum of Bubba Gump. He and his team were quickly able to establish other units across the U.S., learning the peculiarities of each market, their codes, politics and local customer preferences.

Soon international expansion followed, with multi unit deals around the world, including:

  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Bali
  • Hong Kong
  • Philippines
  • London
  • Malaysia
  • the Middle East

Ultimately, the risk of branding the Bubba Gump concept proved to be an international sensation with 40 units and over $250 million in annual sales. Additionally, during Bubba Gump's expansion, Scott and his team created other successful concept projects, such as the popular Capi's Italian Kitchen and the Mai Tai Bar, dubbed "the hottest bar in Honolulu" by MTV.

Lending Hard-Earned Expertise to Others
"I've been fortunate to experience just about everything that a CEO can in a consumer-oriented enterprise."
After being at the helm of Bubba Gump for fourteen years and having a richness of experiences and successes most CEOs only dream of, Scott left as the company was sold in 2011.

He has since brought his industry experience to bear as a

  • Senior Advisor with Tiro Capital, a Hong Kong-based Private Equity Firm

  • Interim CEO at Ruby's Diner Restaurants

  • CEO of Shrimp Basket Restaurants

Additionally, he shares his insights as a keynote speaker on service, management techniques, leadership and financial performance metrics to diverse groups including Kaiser Permanente, Ruby's Diner Restaurants, Cowen and Company, Thomas Weisel Partners, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the Eller School of Business at the University of Arizona, and national restaurant industry gatherings.

Scott enjoys actively consulting with restaurant companies world-wide, lending his expertise to maximize restaurant profits. Scott has received numerous awards within the hospitality industry.

Scott is based in San Diego, CA, and is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.S. degree in Finance.

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