An intuitive operator in the art of restaurant and hospitality management, Toranosuke “Tora” Matsuoka is a dynamic entrepreneur and hands-on owner, with a visionary spirit. His passion for the restaurant industry is undeniable. His work ethic and experience come from the influence of his father, Japanese former top-ranked Sumo wrestler Iwatora (Kazutomo Matsuoka), from whom he learned focus and discipline first-hand. Through this guidance and 27 years of ownership and operating experience, Tora has a uniquely holistic understanding of what it takes to create strong teams and successful operations.
Tora is regarded as a pioneer in Asian cuisine, making his mark in New York by developing Sen Restaurant into the landmark Hampton’s hotspot it is today.
Tora began his journey in the industry at the age of 13, scrubbing basement floors, dishwashing, and cleaning out dumpsters. Over a decade, he worked through every position in the restaurant business until he obtained the level of general manager. The following year he bought the restaurant he started his career in and grew the business to double the revenue and triple the profits.
For the past 15 years, Tora continued to grow his passion and deep curiosity of the industry by venturing out and opening additional restaurants as well as investing in and developing hospitality real estate.
Most recently, Tora joined industry expert Stephen Loffredo as partner in Seasoned Hospitality Consulting & Management. Together they collaborate with restaurant owners, hotels, and real estate developers to create, improve, implement and operate all types of food and beverage operations throughout the country.
His resolve, success, and desire to inspire others has earned him notable speaking opportunities at many young entrepreneur functions at George Mason University and Cornell University, among others, including being featured as an Empact100 honoree at the White House.
Tora was born in NYC, where he was a child model, and moved to Tokyo when he was seven, studying Kabuki theater and finishing middle school at Nishimachi International School. He later moved to Hawaii for high school, studying Hawaiian culture and language, becoming an award-winning hula dancer and state finalist high-jumper. Tora graduated from Mid Pacific Institute in 1999.
When Tora is not in his restaurants or working on concepts for his clients you can find him playing sports like volleyball and tennis, and taking kickboxing and tactical shooting classes.