Brooklyn Chop House CEO And IHOP Franchisee Talks Global Expansion And 17-Year Journey, ‘I Wanted to Win’
Robert Cummins has come a long way since serving as a music executive in the early 90s and 2000s. These days the former executive vice president of MCA Records boasts a robust portfolio of eateries in and throughout New York City with plans of expanding to Dubai, London, and Miami, Florida in the near future, AfroTech reports.
What started with just four IHOP locations in 2007 soon turned into an idea to develop an upscale restaurant offering a fusion of Chinese cuisine and American steak, the Brooklyn Chop House. Cummins and his partners launched the first location on Nassau Street in his native Brooklyn, NY in 2018 and the rest was history.
The restaurant’s delectable menu of filet mignon, peking duck, satay, dumplings, and more has made regulars out of stars like 50 Cent, DaBaby, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Cardi B, and Lil Baby.
“We thought it would be a more exciting menu to have the two of them together versus just having a regular steakhouse,” Cummins said.
“We wanted to be creative, and it paid off. People really gravitated to the mixture of the two menus.”
After four years in business and seeing how receptive customers were to the establishment, Cummins made a swift move toward expansion. The Brooklyn Chop House grew in March 2022 to include a Times Square location and a pop-up during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2022 Formula 1 event last November.
Now the team is working toward opening a new permanent location at the W Abu Dhabi hotel in 2024 as well as potential deals in London and Miami, FL. All the while, Cummins is busy at work as the CEO of Brooklyn Chop House, an IHOP multi-unit franchisee owner, and franchisee and partner of Brooklyn Dumpling Shop.
The success he has now is the byproduct of a 17-year journey that came with its own setbacks and challenges.
“I had a few other restaurants and it took some time — actually 17 years — to get to this point of owning a higher-end fine dining restaurant,” he said.
“I had to take my failures and those failures I learned from. Not every restaurant worked. This is my 16th restaurant, so I still have eight open today. But I learned from my mistakes and was able to continuously grow. And I didn’t give up. I was persistent. I wanted to win. I knew there was something out there that I wanted to own.”
The global expansion is also just the beginning for Brooklyn Chop House as Cummins gears up for a partnership with Patti LaBelle to launch a line of frozen food products for Walmart and eventually other major retailers.
“By the success that she’s had with her line with Walmart, it enabled us to come in and get approved in a record amount of time, and hopefully we’re on shelves there,” he said.
“And then with that success, hopefully, everything goes well and then we can go into other retail outlets like Target and Kroger’s and so on. That’s another part of our business that we’re excited about and looking forward to in the future.”