Meet David Zhao | Founding Partner, Chubby Cattle International

We had the good fortune of connecting with David Zhao and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my digital advertising business straight out of high school; creating ads for the early social media days for restaurants in New York. This freelancing gig led me to start NXT Factor and NU Media (digital marketing agencies) ultimately leading to the Chubby Cattle International Restaurant Group.

What should our readers know about your business?
My partners and I started our first restaurant venture with Chubby Cattle in Las Vegas, expanding to 10 locations as of today (eight years). Chubby Cattle then ventured out to The X Pot in The Venetian, providing a high-end experiential hot pot restaurant with robot servers and 4D screens. One of our most recent ventures was featured on this year’s Michelin Guide, Niku X in DTLA, a Japanese contemporary yakiniku fine dining restaurant. With every new restaurant concept we open, we strive to bridge the gap between various cultures through our globally-inspired food so that we can bring people closer together.

We also recently launched our Chubby Cattle NFTs, a unique set of NFTs that unlock a variety of perks and benefits to all our sister locations. The perks and benefits range from complimentary tasting menus, drinks, and priority reservations. One of the most exciting benefits of being a Chubby Cattle NFT holder is access to exclusive events to continue building the community.

It was definitely not easy. Like any startup, especially in the food & beverage space, there were major challenges. From COVID to the adoption of Hot Pot in the mainstream community, we have been through it all in the past 8 years. We started at 20 years old so it was difficult to convince landlords and investors alike for our projects. Through these challenges, we have learned valuable lessons to build impactful and profitable ventures. We’re excited to continue to expand our concepts to 50 locations in the next 3-5 years.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Los Angeles is a city that offers endless possibilities for a fun weekend adventure. Whether you’re looking for delicious food, breathtaking views, or cultural experiences, this city has it all. One of my favorite spots in DTLA is Grand Central Market, where you can find an array of mouth-watering food options from around the world. After lunch, hike to the iconic Hollywood Sign for a panoramic view of the city. I would end the day watching a game at the Arena followed by dinner at one of our restaurants in the heart of DTLA, Niku X. With its diverse neighborhoods, cultural landmarks, and endless dining options, Los Angeles is the perfect city for an unforgettable weekend getaway with friends.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out to my partners and the entire team across all our locations. From my partners and department head managers, to our culinary experts and servers; we wouldn’t be able to execute our vision without all their hard work and dedication. I would also like to shout out my family, girlfriend, and dear friends for supporting me throughout the entire process.

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