Success Starts with Spirit

It All Began with Aloha

Most people think of the “Aloha Spirit” as Hawaii’s welcoming attitude. In the Hawaiian language, “aloha” has an even deeper meaning. In addition to “hello,” “goodbye,” and “love,” it means “the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).” This is the spirit our team strives to embody every day, whether we are at a restaurant on the islands or in the desert.

Founder Randy Schoch felt the Aloha Spirit the moment he became the General Manager at Nick’s Fishmarket in Hawaii at the age of 23. He was fueled by a passion for going above and beyond, and ended up purchasing the restaurant within five years. After opening the chic Black Orchid restaurant and nightclub in Honolulu, Randy acquired the Ruth’s Chris Steak House franchise in Hawaii and began his journey into franchising.

In 1995, Randy moved to the mainland and established Desert Island Restaurants. Although the desert was his new home, his connection with the islands stayed strong. Since then, Randy has opened six Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses and two Romano’s Macaroni Grill locations in Hawaii. Inspired by the islands’ melting pot of Asian and American influences, he also introduced Roy’s® to Arizona and California, opened Thaifoon — Taste of Asia® in Scottsdale, and launched the Ling & Louie’s Bar and Grill concept, which has grown to 4 locations across the country.

The storied success of the Ruth’s Chris Hawaii locations lead Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. – parent company of Ruth’s Chris Steak House – to acquire the six restaurants from Desert Island in late 2017. “With RHGI’s leadership and strength of the Ruth’s Chris Steak House brand, the future of these locations is in excellent hands,” said Schoch. “I’m confident that RHGI will build upon our accomplishments and embrace the island spirit that has continuously guided everything our team members do.”

No matter how far we grow, or which desert or island our next restaurant calls home, Desert Island Restaurants will always be rooted in the Aloha Spirit.

From Humble Beginnings in Hawaii to National Success

  • 1974: Desert Island Restaurants Founder and Chief Executive Officer begins his hospitality career working as a busboy in Southern California
  • 1980: Randy moves to Hawaii and starts his job as the General Manager of Nick’s Fishmarket restaurant in Waikiki
  • 1985: Randy purchases Nick’s Fishmarket
  • 1988: Randy opens the chic Black Orchid restaurant and nightclub in Downtown Honolulu, which became one of Hawaii’s most popular restaurants
tom selek
1988 - Randy opens the famous restaurant and night club, The Black Orchid, in downtown Honolulu.
ruths crhis founder
1998 - Randy and Ruth's Chris founder Ruth Fertel at the opening of Ruth's Chris Steak House in Lahaina, Maui.
  • 1994: Randy acquires the Ruth’s Chris Steak House franchise for the state of Hawaii
  • 1995: Randy relocates to Arizona and establishes Desert Island Restaurants to bring the Aloha Spirit to the mainland. He introduces the renowned Roy’s restaurant concept to Arizona and Southern California.
  • 2000: Our Roy’s locations become the highest grossing restaurants in the Roy’s portfolio
  • 2001: Desert Island launches Thaifoon-Taste of Asia in Scottsdale, Salt Lake City, Irvine, and Newport Beach
  • 2002: Outback Steakhouse acquires Desert Islands’ Roy’s locations
  • 2004: Nation’s Restaurant News bestows the coveted “Hot Concept” Award to Thaifoon-Taste of Asia
  • 2005: Desert Island introduces the popular Romano’s Macaroni Grill concept to Hawaii and launches Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill in Denver, eventually expanding to 4 locations across the Western U.S.
  • 2008: Our team opens a second Romano’s Macaroni Grill at Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island, and Desert Island’s two Macaroni Grills become the highest grossing locations in the country
  • 2013: Randy is inducted into the prestigious Hawaii Restaurant Association Hall of Fame
  • 2015: Ruth’s Chris Steak House celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary with all of its franchise partners from around the world
  • 2017: Desert Island opens its sixth Ruth’s Chris location on the island of Kauai
  • 2017: Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. – the parent company for Ruth’s Chris Steak House – acquires the six Ruth’s Chris Hawaii locations owned by Desert Island Restaurants
50th anniversary
2015 - Ruth's Chris Steak House celebrated it's 50th Anniversary with all of its franchise partners from around the world!

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