Life is like a box of chain restaurants

Landry's reels in Bubba Gump Shrimp as Tilman's empire expands

Landry's reels in Bubba Gump Shrimp as Tilman's empire expands

News_Bubba Gump Seafood Co.

Forrest Gump is running right into Tilman Fertitta's hands. Locally-owned Landry's seafood empire has acquired the kitschy Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., adding to its portfolio of restaurants that includes Aquarium, Cadillac Bar, La Griglia, Grotto, Pesce, Rainforest Cafe and many others.

Founded in 1996 in Monterey, Calif., Bubba boasts a bevy of 32 locations, including restaurants in Times Square, San Francisco, Miami, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Hong Kong. It was the brainchild of Viacom, the overseer of Paramount Pictures, which released Forrest Gump two years prior.

The movie motif appears in such restaurant features as a "Stop, Forrest, Stop" sign for flagging down waitstaff and such charming souvenirs as boxer shorts and golf balls. Since leading man Forrest Gump hailed from Alabama, the menu focuses on Southern and Cajun plates.

"The business model of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. represents high volume restaurants and specialty locations making it an ideal fit for Landry's model," Fertitta, chairman, president and CEO of Landry's said in a written statement. Bubba Shrimp Co. has wooed family dining aficionados, generating $200 million in sales across the globe in 2009.

Since Fertitta took Landry's private, he's been expanding its roster of restaurants even more. This Bubba Gump acquisition follows the recent auction purchase of the Claim Jumpers chain.