Exotic tropical birds caw in the distance. Animated elephants shower each other with water. Hungry leopards lurk in the lush vegetation. A family of gorillas creates a clamor of playful noise. Suddenly, a voice in the mist calls a greeting: “Your adventure is about to begin.”
The RAINFOREST CAFE restaurant began as the creative idea of entrepreneur Steven Schussler. For several years Mr. Schussler developed the concept and in 1989 transformed his suburban Minneapolis home into the RAINFOREST CAFE prototype, complete with tropical birds, aquariums, lush vegetation and retail products. In 1994, Lyle Berman, chairman of the board of Grand Casinos Inc. led a group of investors financing construction of the first RAINFOREST CAFE at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Rainforest Cafe, Inc. incorporated in 1994 and completed its public offering in April 1995 (Nasdaq: RAIN).
The development of Rainforest Cafe spanned over 17 years with 45 restaurants opening throughout the world. Rainforest Cafe is the only restaurant company in the world to have opened up in every Disney theme park. Having gone public with only one store open, Rainforest Cafe stills holds records for being the top grossing restaurant concept in the country mixing retail, live and animated animals and the whimsicality that attracts those from ages three to 103 along with wheelchair and stroller parking. Rainforest Cafe entertained and educated within the same experience setting attendance records and having three hour waiting lines. Rainforest Cafe was also known for its outreach educational program and its commitment to the environment through forming a non-profit charity called Friends of the Future Foundation.