Steaks, vodka and casinos: Donald Trump’s business blunders

March 4, 2016

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Donald Trump has repeatedly touted his business successes during his presidential primary campaign. But from bankrupt casinos to the short-lived “Trump Steaks”, he has also overseen a host of business failures.

Trump entered the world of business in 1968 when he began working for his millionaire father’s real estate firm, which he later went on to inherit. Since then, he has undoubtedly achieved a great deal of success in the business world, though his actual net worth may be much less than the $10 billion he claims, according to Forbes.

But the man who has said “perhaps it’s time America was run like a business” also has had his fair share of less successful ventures.

Here are some of his biggest business blunders:

Trump Airlines

In 1988, already well-established in the real estate business, Trump decided to branch out into the world of air travel, buying US regional airline Eastern Air Shuttle for $365 million and rebranding it as Trump Airlines. In business for 27 years, Eastern Air Shuttle offered low-cost flights between Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. Trump quickly went about giving his newly acquired airline his unique personal touch, repainting the aircraft with a new “Trump“ livery and fitting them out with new interiors featuring maple wood veneer, chrome seat belt latches, and gold-coloured lavatory fixtures.

Customers who had used the airline because of its no-frills convenience were put off by the higher prices of the new luxury proposition. This combined with a mechanics’ strike and rising oil prices after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait meant that Trump Airlines never turned a profit. Trump defaulted on the bank loans used to buy the airline, its ownership passed to the creditors and, in 1992, it ceased to exist.

Trump Vodka

Trump had high hopes for his personal brand of “super premium” vodka when it launched in 2006. By the summer, Trump said, he expected “the most called for cocktail in America to be the T&T, or the Trump and Tonic”. Trump Vodka came with the logo “Success Distilled”, but the product proved to be anything but that. The trademark was abandoned just two years later, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the product reportedly went out of circulation altogether in 2011.

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