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Hard Rock Cafe is a chain of Theme Restaurants founded in 1971 by Americans Peter Morton & Isaac Tigrett. The first location opened near Hyde Park Cornermarker in Londonmarker, Englandmarker. In 1979, the cafe began covering its walls with rock 'n' roll ephemera, a tradition which expanded to others in the chain. In 2006, Hard Rock was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Currently, there are 140 Hard Rock locations in over 40 countries.



The first Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) opened its doors to the public on June 14, 1971, in Londonmarker, Englandmarker. It was founded by Peter Morton & Isaac Tigrett. Hard Rock initially had an eclectic decor but it later started to display memorabilia. Hard Rock has amassed one of the largest collections of rock and roll memorabilia. The chain began to expand worldwide in 1982 with locations in Los Angelesmarker, Philadelphiamarker,San Franciscomarker, Chicagomarker, Houstonmarker, New Yorkmarker, Dallasmarker, Bostonmarker, Washington, DCmarker, Orlandomarker, Parismarker and Berlinmarker.

In 1990, The Rank Group, Plc., a London-based leisure company, acquired Mecca and continued expansion of the concept in their geographic territory. Rank went on to purchase Hard Rock America from Peter Morton as well as Hard Rock Canada from Nick Bitove. After the completion of these acquisitions, Rank gained worldwide control of the brand. In March 2007, the Seminole Tribe of Florida acquired Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. and other related entities from Rank Group for $965 million In recent times the business has come in for some criticism because of its practice of paying its waiting staff less than half the official minimum wage in the UK, with the business allocating tips to staff to bring their salaries within the law. Most customers, it was argued, do not realise that they are subsidizing a low wage when they give the tip .

On May 28, 2009, Hard Rock International announced plans to open a , 500 seat HRC on Hollywood Blvd.marker in Los Angelesmarker featuring a live concert area and a limited edition retail shop. Hard Rock International closed its first location in the Los Angeles area located in the Beverly Centermarker which had opened in 1982 during their worldwide expansion. An opening date has not been announced.

Expansion into other businesses

Casinos and hotels

In 1995 Peter Morton spent $80 million to open the Hard Rock Hotel & Casinomarker off the Las Vegas Stripmarker in Paradisemarker, Nevadamarker. A subsequent $100 million expansion nearly doubled the hotel's capacity in 1999.

In May 2006, Morton sold the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegasmarker to Morgans Hotel Group for $770 million, including the rights to the Hard Rock Hotel brand west of the Mississippi, including Texasmarker, Californiamarker, Australia and Vancouver, British Columbiamarker. Edward Scheetz, a Morgans' executive, described the 11-story, 650-room Hard Rock Hotel as a trophy property that will never be replicated in Las Vegas because of land values. The pool at the Hard Rock occupies land valued at $50 million. On September 1, 2007 the Hard Rockmarker Las Vegas announced sponsorship of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion, Buddy Rice for the final two races of the 2007 IndyCar Series Season.

On February 8, 2007, Anna Nicole Smith died of a drug overdose in a room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Floridamarker.

Today, the Indian Tribe of Florida owns and operates all units except the Las Vegas facility. In 2004, Hard Rock International and Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts launched Lifestar Hoteles Espana SL, a joint venture that manages Europe's first Hard Rock Hotel in Madridmarker. The other joint venture hotels are in Chicago, New York and San Diego (the San Diego property includes Hard Rock condominiums). Hard Rock also operates hotels and resorts in Orlandomarker, Floridamarker, a joint venture with Loews Hotels.; Balimarker, Indonesiamarker; and Pattayamarker, Thailandmarker, a joint ventures with Ong Beng Seng/Hotel Properties Limited. Hard Rock International, continues to expand internationally (including hotels, casinos, resorts, and condominiums) through several joint ventures (Becker Ventures, Ong Beng Seng/Hotel Properties Limited and Loews Hotels) including hotels in Chicago, Bali, Orlando, San Diego and planned openings in Atlanta and Penang as well as hotel-casinos in Hollywood, Floridamarker, Tampa, Florida, Biloxi, Mississippi Las Vegas, Nevadamarker and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Hard Rock Park - Theme Park

Hard Rock Cafe International announced in March 2006 that they licensed the "Hard Rock" name to HRP Myrtle Beach Operations, LLC, to design, build, and own a $400 million theme park called Hard Rock Park. Hard Rock Park opened on April 15, 2008 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolinamarker, closed into bankruptcy September 24, 2008, and converted to Chapter 7 liquidation January 2, 2009. The park was expected to draw an estimated 30,000 visitors per day, promised to create more than 3,000 jobs, and was billed as the largest single investment in South Carolina history. It planned to feature a large concert arena and six zones with more than 40 attractions.. But HRP Myrtle Beach Operations, LLC, filed for Chapter 11 on September 25, 2008. The company had at the time hoped to re-open in 2009 after restructuring. On January 2, 2009 after failing to attract a buyer with a minimum US$35 million bid for over 2 months, Hard Rock Park asked a Delaware Bankruptcy Court to convert their filing to Chapter 7 (triggering immediate liquidation of assets to pay off creditors) and closing the park. New owners renamed the park Freestyle Music Parkmarker and it to reopened by Memorial Day, 2009, but without the Hard Rock name, though a music theme remains.

Seminole Tribe of Florida takeover

On December 7, 2006, Rank sold its Hard Rock business to the Seminole Tribe of Florida for US$965 million. Included in the deal were 124 Hard Rock Cafes, four Hard Rock Hotels, two Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hotels, two Hard Rock Live! concert venues, and stakes in three unbranded hotels. Rank kept the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in London, but has changed its name to G Casino Piccadilly. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was also not part of the deal, as it was sold by Peter Morton to Morgans Hotel Group in May 2006. The final takeover was mired in controversy, as another of the chain's suitors, Power Plant Entertainment, charged that Merrill Lynch sabotaged its acquisition efforts. On January 8, 2007, Rank Group shareholders approved the Seminoles' US$965 million offer. The Tribe expects to have finalized the deal by March 5, 2007. The Hollywood Casino/Hotel location gained some notoriety on February 8, 2007 when Anna Nicole Smith died there.

On June 22, 2008, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywoodmarker, Floridamarker began "Vegas-style" table gambling instead of using just type-II slots. The Seminole Tribe paid the State of Floridamarker US$100 million as part of a 25-year pact. On July 5, 2008, the Florida Supreme Courtruledmarker that the governor's agreement was unconstitutional but table games continue to operate because the Federal Department of the Interior approved the now illegal compact with the state.

Music memorabilia

Hard Rock is known for its collection of rock and roll memorabilia. The cafes solicit donations of music memorabilia but also purchase a number of items at auctions around the world, including autographed guitars, outfits from world tours and rare photographs are often to be found mounted on cafe walls. The collection began in 1979 with the gift of an un-signed guitar (a Red Fender Lead II) from Eric Clapton, who was a regular at the first restaurant in London. This prompted Pete Townshend of The Who to give one of his guitars, also un-signed with the note "Mine's as good as his! Love, Pete." Hard Rock's archive includes over 70,000 items and it opened a Hard Rock museum named "The Vault" in Orlando, Floridamarker in January 2003 but subsequently closed it in September 2004. The London Vault remains open, located near the original cafe. In 2005 Deep Purple launched their new album Rapture of the Deep in Hard Rock Cafe London. This show was released as a DVD.


Image:Hard_Rock_Cafe_Bengalooru.JPG|Hard Rock Cafe at Bangaloremarker (2008)Image:Hard Rock Cafe 1996.JPG|Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios Floridamarker (1990-98)Image:Hard Rock Cafe.jpg|A Hard Rock Cafe sign in ChicagomarkerImage:HardRockBuenosAires.jpg‎|Hard Rock Cafe Window in Buenos AiresmarkerImage:Hard Rock Cafe Caracas.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe in CaracasmarkerImage:Hard rock cafe warszawa logo.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe in Warsawmarker, PolandmarkerImage:Baltimore_fg01.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe in BaltimoremarkerImage:Hard Rock Cafe Sign Sacramento.JPG|Hard Rock Sacramentomarker at the K street mallImage:HK Hard Rock.JPG|Hard Rock Cafe, Hong Kongmarker (closed since Nov. 24, 2008)Image:DecaturNOLAHardRockBike3Oct07.jpg|French Quartermarker Hard Rock Cafe, New OrleansmarkerImage:hardrockwalkfamejagger.jpg|Walk of Fame (Mick Jagger) at Niagara Falls, OntariomarkerImage:HardRockCafesignfromCampusMartuisdetroit.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe near Campus Martius Parkmarker in DetroitmarkerImage:Hard-rock-lasvegas.JPG|Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas, NevadaImage:P5081256.JPG|Hard Rock Cafe, Universal Studios Hollywoodmarker, Los AngelesmarkerImage:HardRockCafeOrlando.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, Orlandomarker (World's Largest Hard Rock Cafe)Image:Hard_rock_cafe_bogota.jpg‎|Hard Rock Cafe, Bogotámarker, ColombiamarkerImage:HRC_Myrtle_Beach_SC.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe Myrtle Beachmarker South CarolinaImage:Hard rock orlando florida.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe Orlando FloridaImage:Hrc amsterdam.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, AmsterdamImage:Shop Hard Rock Cafe in Hurgada.JPG|Shop Hard Rock Cafe in HurgadaImage:HardRockBOM.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai.Image:HardRockCafeOslo.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, OslomarkerImage:Hard Rock Cafe Washington DC.JPG|Hard Rock Cafe, Washington, D.C.markerImage:Andrew Young and Peachtree.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, AtlantamarkerImage:HRC prague.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, Praguemarker, The Czech RepublicmarkerImage:Honolulu_cafe.jpg|Hard Rock Cafe, Honolulumarker


  3. BBC NEWS | Business | Hard Rock wages 'below minimum'
  6. Hard Rock Park press release
  7. Hard Rock Park in SC files Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  8. Official Press Release On New Name
  9. FoxNews article on Hard Rock sale to Seminoles
  10. Seminole Tribe of Florida rocks out
  12. Townshend's Gibson Les Paul in the Memorabilia section of Hard Rock Cafe website
  13. The Highway Star — Montreux'2006 DVD details
  14. "Hong Kong Recession Cuts Jobs at Hard Rock, Retailer, SCMP Says", Nov. 15, 2008

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