Hard Rock Cafe opened its rock and
roll doors in George Town on 28 April, 2000.
Since then, it has been welcoming
tourists and locals to enjoy its famous hamburgers, admire the pink 1960’s
Cadillac hanging from the dining room roof, take a look at Bono’s sunglasses or
gaze on one of Jimi Hendrix’s belts.
General Manager Colin Doyle
explained that Cayman’s Hard Rock Cafe came to fruition from the gap in the market
in the late 1990s that meant cruise ship tourists were disembarking in George
Town with few options of where to eat or drink or where to buy souvenirs.
“There were no big bars or
restaurants in George Town. There were no flagship branded names in George Town
either,” Mr. Doyle said.
Located on South Church Street,
overlooking the harbour, the restaurant, bar and store opened with 110 staff.
“We still have original members of
staff on our books, but many have come and gone over the years. We have covered
29 nationalities at a recent count and are proud to have taken on summer
students, school leavers and work experience students from the Cayman Islands.
“We have trained others up and they
have gone on with the corporate training we offer to all staff. We are very
proud of our links to the community,” Mr. Doyle said.
In 2008, Hard Rock underwent a
major revamp, effectively turning it from a bar with a restaurant into a
restaurant with a bar.
“We [thought] that the restaurant
needed a freshen up after eight years. We wanted to go back to the roots of service
and not disassociate ourselves from the Cayman community.
“It seems to have worked. We have a
lot more night time business and local visitation. Our Steak Night every
Wednesday is a perfect example of this. It is great to see our restaurant buzzing
at night and not just during the day,” he said.
In 2006, the Cayman branch was
named “Top the Rock Hard Rock Café of the Year”, an accolade presented each
year to some of the company’s best performing restaurants and stores.
Company CEO Hamish Dodds said at
the time that Cayman was chosen because of the efforts its staff made daily “to
provide all guests with high quality food, exceptional service, live music and
the authentic rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere that has made the Hard Rock brand
famous”. They manage to do this in the limited time that cruise ship passengers
get to spend in Cayman.
As its award, Hard Rock Cafe Cayman
Islands got to display a special piece of memorabilia from Hard Rock’s prized
collection for two months – a specially designed Ace Frehley signature series
Gibson Les Paul smoking guitar from the 1996-1997 Kiss “Reunion”
Hard Rock Cafe Cayman Islands was also
inducted into the company’s “Performance Hall of Fame”. This identifies
all cafes and locations that have earned the “Top of the Rock” award
and is displayed at Hard Rock International’s corporate offices in Orlando,
Cayman’s Hard Rock also received a
limited-edition pin for each of its employees, designed as a replica of the
unique memorabilia trophy the cafe receives, which is also available for sale
at the cafe’s store.
Hard Rock in the Cayman Islands is
not resting on its laurels.
In April, it held its singing
competition, consisting of three weeks of heats with the finals held on 28
April. The winner received an all expenses paid trip to London to Hard Rock Calling,
a concert to be held on 25, 26 and 27 June, featuring Pearl Jam, Paul
McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Ben Harper and others.
And it is holding its Cinco de Mayo
festivities, with the fourth annual Air Guitar Championships on 1 May. There
will also be two live bands playing on an outdoor stage and a big screen
showing the Floyd Mayweather vs Shane Mosley fight.