Fogo de Chão, the authentic Brazilian steakhouse, is celebrating its 10 year anniversary in the United States this August. Before the Brazilian churrascaria's popularity grew in the late-nineties, Fogo de Chão was one of the first Brazilian restaurants to successfully translate their concept, introducing Americans to the Brazilian methods of cooking meat over an open flame. The foreign concept started when brothers Jair and Arri Coser opened the first Fogo de Chão in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1979. After great success with their first restaurant, they opened another two successful restaurants in São Paulo. In response to continuous requests from loyal American visitors, the Coser brothers opened their first U.S. location in Dallas, TX in August 1997. 10 years ago, this was a risky move; most Americans had not yet developed a taste for unfamiliar cuisines, and foreign restaurant concepts were not seeing much success. Luckily, Texas' cattle culture pushed the carnivorous restaurant into the spotlight. Offering a prix fixe dinner, the restaurant allows guests to choose from 15 unique cuts of meat served tableside from authentic "Gauchos" or Brazilian cowboys. A sumptuous salad bar, traditional Brazilian side dishes and an award-winning wine list round out the meal. Currently, the restaurant boasts 13 locations worldwide (eight in the United States), and recently, the restaurant announced plans to increase expansion by opening four additional locations per year. This year, Fogo de Chão has already opened a location in Minneapolis and will open restaurants in Baltimore and Austin. The restaurant company also opened a fifth Brazilian location this year in Brasilia.
As the restaurant group continues to grow, they exemplify the success many foreign-based concepts search for in the U.S. Owner Jair Coser admits he hopes to see 50 locations of Fogo de Chão open one day. "We believe we are ready to expand more rapidly," Coser says, "but we will continue to grow carefully. We've assembled a strong team over the last 10 years to ensure that we will maintain our high level of service and our high quality food. These traits are what brought us to where we are today." Today, the restaurant group brings in $12 million a year in per-restaurant revenue in the U.S. alone. At the end of 2007, the restaurant is anticipating a total of $116 million revenue with 15 locations in operation. For the first time this year, Fogo de Chão will break $100 million in revenue.