Hakkasan Group CEO forecasts expansion, more revenue

Hakkasan Group is generating $500 million in revenue from its nightclub and restaurant venues as it sets up to boost its global party and dining presence by half over the next 36 months, CEO Neil Moffitt told a conference Monday.

Hakkasan, which currently has about 60 venues globally, including at least a dozen in Las Vegas, such as Wet Republic and Hakkasan, plans to open another 30 over the next three years, Moffitt told several hundred attendees at the Nightclub and Bar Show in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The group now employs 7,000 people worldwide, he said.

“The company has gone from nothing to half a billion dollars” in a short time, he said. The ability of nightclubs to generate such revenue means club owners and managers “have become the most important people in the hotels and resorts globally. Period. Fact.”

Wet Republic at MGM Resorts pulled in $44 million in 20 weeks last year, he told the crowd.

The group’s leap from restaurants into the night club and entertainment business began when it hired Moffitt to open the Hakkasan Las Vegas at MGM Grand Hotel in 2013. The five-story, 80,000 square foot venue generated $100 million in revenue in its first year, making it one of the highest grossing clubs worldwide. That drove Hakkasan Group to buy Moffitt’s management business and roll out more clubs and restaurants globally.

Moffitt, who has since expanded the group’s business through mergers and acquisitions, including a majority stake in high-end nightlife and restaurant operator H. Wood Group, told the crowd that consolidation will help industry profits.

“When we fight the guy down the street, all we do is chip away at our margin,” he said, adding, half-jokingly, that he has been battling with Steve Wynn for five years. Steve Wynn owns the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, which run popular clubs XS, Surrender and Encore Beach Club.

Wynn and Hakkasan have battled for the world’s top DJ talent over the years.

Moffitt said Hakkasan beat its revenue forecast last year by $7 million by focusing more on social media. The company has invested in social media specialists and trimmed traditional advertising like billboards and magazines by $9 million.

“Direct marketing through social media is one of the most powerful things you will ever get your hands on,” he said.

The British-born executive said he is budgeting for revenue growth this year in Las Vegas even though visitation may remain flat. Hakkasan’s Las Vegas revenues are up about 6 percent in the first quarter, he said.

Moffitt said the next stage of development for Las Vegas nightlife will be establishments like the high-end, 1920s-styled Los Angeles restaurant and lounge Delilah, owned by H. Wood Group.

“That is going to become the future, where we really combine food and beverage with atmosphere and late-night experience,” he said. “It’s creating the early money, to the mid money and late money.”

Hakkasan Group’s current restaurant portfolio includes Hakkasan, with 11 locations worldwide, Ling Ling, Yauatcha, HKK, Sake no Hana, Herringbone and Searsucker. Under the nightlife/daylife umbrella of brands are Hakkasan Nightclub, Wet Republic, OMNIA and Jewel.

Hakkasan Group is fully owned by Alliance International Investments LLC, an investment company out of Abu Dhabi. The group has headquarters in London and Las Vegas.