A guide to entrepreneurial success from the founder of the Rainforest Café.
In short, snappy chapters, Schussler, CEO of Schussler Creative, Inc., offers advice culled from his career developing some of the country’s leading theme-based restaurants. Readers of motivational books have heard much of it before: Be a risk-taker. Be creative. Pay attention to detail. Thank people. Be passionate. “I’m talking about PASSION,” he writes. Keep trying, and “never give up—no matter what!” However familiar, the homilies are grounded in real life, as demonstrated by his many instructive and entertaining stories. A go-getter from an early age—he held more than a dozen jobs before turning 16—Schussler was in his 20s, selling TV advertising in Chicago, when he decided to go to work for himself. He began restoring old juke boxes, opened a store selling nostalgia items, went bankrupt and then used his unsold inventory to create a successful 1950s retro dance club. That’s when he realized that with a good idea, anything was possible. To attract investors to his plans for a themed restaurant based on the tropical rainforest, he turned his suburban home into a misty jungle that included 40 tropical birds, two tortoises, a baboon, countless fish, waterfalls, rock outcroppings, rivers and a full-sized replica of an elephant. After urging the author to seek psychiatric help, a visiting venture capitalist toured the house, returned with his kids and eventually provided start-up money for the Rainforest Café chain. Another time, Schussler was in the Dakota Badlands, realized dinosaurs had roamed there and came up with the idea for his T-Rex family adventure restaurants. The author writes that he learned the importance of publicity when, as a young man, he donned a Superman costume, got into a wooden barrel and had two policeman friends deliver him to an interview for a sales job. “Son, you are the sickest person we’ve ever met,” he was told. “You’re hired.”
A bright pep talk for aspiring entrepreneurs.