Hard Rock Cafe reviews PR strategy as industry sags

ORLANDO: Hoping to distinguish itself within the sagging theme-restaurant industry, the Hard Rock Cafe is midway through a review of its dollars 1 million PR account. A decision should be handed down next month.

ORLANDO: Hoping to distinguish itself within the sagging theme-restaurant industry, the Hard Rock Cafe is midway through a review of its dollars 1 million PR account. A decision should be handed down next month.

ORLANDO: Hoping to distinguish itself within the sagging

theme-restaurant industry, the Hard Rock Cafe is midway through a review

of its dollars 1 million PR account. A decision should be handed down

next month.



Chris Tomasso, senior director of marketing and productions, said the

company sent out an RFP to 60 agencies via PR Newswire a month ago and

is currently reviewing about 25 proposals. He hopes to winnow the list

down to four or five firms this week, with the menu limited to east

coast-based agencies with above dollars 3 million in revenues.



In recent years, the rock ’n roll restaurant chain has gone through a

progression of changes with its PR. Hard Rock used to employ a firm in

every major market, but then consolidated its account around

Orlando-based Curly & Pynn in 1994. In 1997, the company took its PR

in-house.



But as Hard Rock consolidated its four corporate offices to a single

Orlando headquarters, the two internal PR staffers - both based in Los

Angeles - decided not to move east. ’We had started to search for an

LA-based agency, but once the consolidation took place, it made no

sense,’ Tomasso said.



The theme-restaurant industry has recently been rocked by poor financial

performance, as consumers have grown tired of long lines and overpriced

food. Celebrity-backed Planet Hollywood has just emerged from

bankruptcy, while others, including the Fashion Cafe and Rainforest

Cafe, are struggling to stay afloat.



Tomasso said the Hard Rock is hoping to generate positive coverage in

the consumer press, and make sure that the chain is not ’lumped in with

(its) competitors.’ The company operates 104 sites worldwide.



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