Planet Hollywood to open five to six restaurants in IndiaNovember 18th, 2007 - 1:35 pm ICT by admin
By Sanjay Kumar
Las Vegas, Nov.18 (ANI): The Las Vegas Strip-based mega resort, Planet Hollywood, in which actor Sylvester “Rambo” Stallone and a host of other Hollywood stars have business stakes, has announced plans to open between five to six restaurants in select Indian cities.
A mile-long list of celebrities are on hand this weekend at a five million dollar (2.5 million pound) party hosted by eccentric London entrepreneur Robert Earl to re-launch the mega resort after years of financial problems and bankruptcy.
The list of celebrities was indeed impressive as it included California Governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, tennis star Andre Agassi and Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson among them. The coup of the weekend is a concert given by Barbara Streisand.
Fifty-six-year-old Earl, who invented the Planet Hollywood resort-cum-restaurant chain in the mid 1990s, told Asian News International on the sidelines of the re-launch that over-expansion in the initial years was primarily responsible for the chain’s financial troubles, but now the former Aladdin Hotel-Casino had gone in for a one billion dollar re-design. The resort-restaurant chain was first bought in 2004 for 800 million dollars.
According to Earl, the Arabian theme has now been done away with, and the casino has been re-configured and re-designed to include different film themes to each of its 3,000 rooms, complete with pieces of memorabilia from Earl’s mammoth collection.
The resort stands on 35 acres in a prime location across the street from the posh Bellagio Hotel-Casino and just north of the MGM Grand.
The casino refurbishing notwithstanding, Planet Hollywood has in a partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, also been rolling out new restaurants and bars since April this year.
According to Earl, a master franchisee agreement with Arch Millennium Corporation was reached to develop five Planet Hollywood restaurants in India. The first restaurant is slated to come up in Mumbai in early 2008.
Planet Hollywood plans to invest about 15 million dollars by 2010 for the Indian segment of its restaurant business. Apart from Mumbai, the other restaurants are likely to come up in Delhi, Bangalore, Goa and Hyderabad.
In May this year, the President and CEO of Arch Millennium, Siddharth Mobar was quoted by the Hindu Businessline as saying “In line with the restaurant’s name, we would bring Hollywood stars such as Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone to India. We will also try to bring others such as Paris Hilton and Justin Timberlake.”
The company, which has many dishes named after Hollywood stars, plans to add the local Indian flavour by roping in some Bollywood stars as well.
“Yes certainly, it (getting Bollywood stars) is also on our mind,” Mobar said then.
Some of the unique dishes that will be on offer at Planet Hollywood outlets include `Chicken Crunch’, based on Demi Moore’s recipe and `Banana Strudle’, based on the recipe of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mother.
Mobar said the company would also display and sell Hollywood movie merchandise. Each Planet Hollywood restaurant houses memorabilia from movies, old and new. The interior decor reflects various movie genres, including action, horror and Sci-Fi and the audio-visual system plays the latest movie trailers, clips, music videos and celebrity visits.
Touted as the world’s most famous theme restaurant, Planet Hollywood’s promoters include Hollywood stars such as Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Demi Moore.
As per the company’s plans, a guest at a Planet Hollywood India restaurant will be able to see what is happening in other restaurant locations such as New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, London and Paris.
There are 28 Planet Hollywood across the U.S., Paris, as also in London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Beijing.
“This is a resurgence, a re-launch of the brand and a launch as a gaming, lodging and time-share company,” said Earl, who hopes to build Planet Hollywood casino resorts in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Macau, China.
“It’s always nice to get back to where you were. One needs to try to grab attention, get everyone to get a first look and then the quality of the product will keep people wanting to come back,” he added.
Sylvester “Rambo or Sly” Stallone, one of Planet Hollywood’s promoters with around 35 percent share in it, expressed a willingness to visit India.
“I know people in India have been really very big. They have been supportive. It’s great community out there. I would love to come there and check it out. I don’t know whether we really want it (Planet Hollywood restaurant) there, but if we do want it, we would be there,” Stallone told ANI.
Famous rapper DMC also said that he wants to visit Bollywood.
“India is to be place to be in. Forget about the Hollywood, talk about the Bollywwod,” said DMC.
This weekend’s splash saw Earl calling upon dozens of his famous friends, including Planet Hollywood investors Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, to kick off the renovated resort.
The refurbished resort aims to be an interface between Hollywood and Vegas serving as venue for movie premier, TV production and poker tournaments.
Earl, who bought a 23 per cent stake in Everton football club last year, was seen as a wunderkind in the early 1990s when he left the Hard Rock Cafe chain to launch Planet Hollywood, which at its height had a market capitalisation of one billion dollars. Then it crashed.
“I 100 per cent understand people’s scepticism,” he said. “But we’re eroding that very, very quickly.”
The new property will house memorabilia valued at 20 million dollars,while the resort includes 15 restaurants, including Koi and Strip House,live tournaments and more than 170 speciality shops.(ANI)
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