From an early age, David Schiffman knew he wanted be an owner in the nightlife scene, but understood he had to do the work and learn as much as he could first. So that’s exactly what he did when he moved to Florida to work at a nightclub called the Coliseum. He started working security and paid close attention to how the owner ran his successful business. When the time came to leave Florida, he moved to San Diego and continued to work in the industry while watching and learning how business was done.
Finally in 2005 an opportunity came about for Schiffman to open his first venue, Whiskey Girl, a party and sports bar downtown. The success of this project led to Florent, a swanky restaurant and lounge, and The Rabbit Hole, a hipster sports bar in Normal Heights. Schiffman credits his success to hard work and great partnerships.
Q: If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
A: The power to read people’s mind. I love this business and get a great feeling when I see the concepts work and people enjoying themselves. But there is always that “what if” factor. Could I have done something better or different? This is where the power would allow me into the thoughts of current and potential customers’ minds.
Q: Misconceptions people have about your restaurants? ??
A: People might think the Gaslamp is always a huge party scene, but you can pick and choose your experience. You might enjoy a business lunch at Florent, a happy hour at Whiskey Girl and a night out at Double Deuce riding our mechanical bull. The energy level across our venues - and across Gaslamp - is up for your choosing. You can pick what you’re in the mood for.
Q: Best part about doing business in San Diego??
A: The culture and how it directly influences the service industry. San Diegans keep pushing the envelope with the incredible food, explosion of craft beer and cocktails along with a strong music scene. All this makes you do the best to keep current and find ways to stand out. With such talented people in the (food and beverage) industry it drives me to continue to improve and refine the concepts.
Q: Favorite drink, dinner and dessert from one of your places??
A: Drink: Johnnie Walker Blue Label - straight up at Whiskey Girl. Dinner: The Ground Chuck Norris Burger at The Rabbit Hole. Dessert: Foie Gras Bread Pudding at Florent Restaurant & Lounge.
Q: CEO or company you admire and why?
A: I’m constantly inspired by the leadership behind creative new technologies and offerings that support our hospitality industry. Uber is a great example of a supportive brand to our industry. Uber has teamed up locally with many of the (food and beverage) establishments to offer employee and patron discounts. This in return has made it easier and more cost effective for people to come out and enjoy the venues.
Q: Describe your perfect day in San Diego.
A: Spending a nice day with my wife Nikki and two beautiful children at the SD Zoo.
Q: What song best describes your life??
A: Tough one, my life is evolving every day. A song that may have defined me when I was 30 may not have the same meaning to me now. Overall I could say that “Living in America” by James Brown could sum it. It is a fun song with a lot of energy that speaks about all the opportunity you have, which I have taken advantage within my venues and also in my personal life with my family.