2017 Distinguished Business Awards - Small Business of the Year: Sushi Confidential

Sushi Confidential

These days, Randy Musterer better known locally as "Sushi Randy" is living his dream.  The successful owner of two Bay Area restaurants, he has become synonymous with bringing Sushi to the masses through innovation, creativity and style. 

A native of San Diego, Randy grew up in the Sport Fishing industry and has been in love with the ocean ever since.  As he got older, his passion for science led him to attend California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo, CA where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology.

Following career opportunities, Randy took a job in the Bay Area directly working on Cancer Research for a major biochemical company.  Scientist by Day, Randy dreamt of working with his favorite food, Sushi on a more ongoing basis.  He was able to obtain an apprenticeship with some master Sushi Chefs throughout the area and quickly became a local fan favorite for his personality, style and goal to bring Sushi to the masses.

Through family pressure and urging from friends, Randy began hosting secret [confidential] underground parties for only a select few that would enjoy his cosmic creations and personal brand of Sushi Making. As he continued to develop a cult like following,  word spread quickly and the opportunity to finally open his own restaurant became available in 2012 where he opened his first location in Downtown Campbell, CA.  Fueled by his passion for service, Randy opened his 2nd location in Downtown San Jose, CA in early 2016.  It is through poised calculated growth Randy continues to see his vision come to life by bringing Sushi to the masses through continued innovation, creativity and value. 

Q&A

Share your thoughts on what it means to receive this award?

It is such an honor to receive The silicon valley organization's: Small Business of the Year award! Being recognized for the hard work and dedication from all of our Sushi Confidential staff is much appreciated. Sushi Confidential opened its first location in downtown Campbell in 2012, and more recently in downtown San Jose in 2016. As we continued to grow, we felt it was very important to give back to the community that continues to support our restaurants.  When I retired from my career as a Cancer Research Scientist in 2014 to follow my passion in sushi, I had the desire to continue to help others, but in a different way. Due to the success of our restaurants and the strength of our brand, we realized that we could donate sushi party experiences to philanthropies and local schools to help them raise money for those that needed it most. We also donate food …who doesn’t like sushi ... to organizations to help raise money or to feed the homeless. Winning this award is such a surprise and honor because giving back to the community and never expecting anything in return is the philosophy we follow.

Why is it important for the business community, and the work that it does, to be highlighted annually by The SVO?

Many times, businesses do great things for the community that may not be seen or recognized at that time by the community. The SVO acts as a conduit between businesses and the community to help acknowledge those businesses that give back by helping others.  Even though most business do not expect being recognized or awarded, it’s always a great feeling to be acknowledged for those efforts.

Share words of advice that someone gave you at the beginning of your career?

A few years ago, when Sushi Confidential was just getting started, I had the privilege to meet Oprah at a small business seminar called QuickBooks Connect sponsored by Intuit. I was one of four business owners chosen to meet with her for about 30 minutes to share our stories on how we got to our current career.  I mentioned to Oprah that I had just retired from my cancer research career to follow my passion by owning sushi restaurants.  I mentioned that it was a difficult transition because I had left a career that allowed me to help others to move into a career that was strictly making sushi.  However, I found an outlet by donating food or sushi experiences to organizations that helped them raise money for those that are less fortunate. 

During Oprah’s keynote speech later that day,  she said “you true work on earth is your offering, it’s the way you express yourself in service to the world. Your fullest, highest expression come from when you do what you love, a passion, something that allows you to fill your juice.  Your success in business is because you are doing exactly what you are supposed to do. When your personality comes to serve, the energy of your soul, that is authentic empowerment.” Hearing this in her speech gave me insight that I am following my passion with sushi, but still able to give back to the community in creative ways to help others.

Share words of advice to give to those aspiring to be future Distinguished Business Award recipients?

Be creative in how you approach all aspects of business and don’t be afraid to be different for your competitors! Sushi Confidential does not pay for advertising, because whenever you pay for that, you constantly are looking at numbers and trying to figure out your return on investment.  It’s usually frustrating to see that most advertising is not cost effective. We decided early on that we would rather donate to schools and other organizations instead of spending money on advertising. By donating, we never focus on the return. We focus on how we are giving back, helping others, and doing great things for the community. If there is a return, great, but if not, our goal is still accomplished by helping others.