Ivan vs. Hard Rock

Colin Doyle knows where he is going
to seek shelter if another hurricane the size of Ivan hits Cayman – inside the
Hard Rock Cafe building in George Town.

Although much of the restaurant’s
fixtures, fittings and prized memorabilia were destroyed or badly damaged in
the storm, the building itself withstood the onslaught.

“We thank God that we put the time
and investment into the infrastructure of our cafe. The poured cement walls
withstood and there was limited structural damage.

“The building is immense and I know
where I would want to be if another storm of the magnitude of Ivan came again –
in Hard Rock,” said Mr. Doyle, Hard Rock Cayman Islands’ general manager.

While the structure may have taken
on Ivan and survived, inside was a different story. The memorabilia for which
Hard Rock is famous fell victim to Ivan.

“Rock icons, guitars, posters,
autographs all took a big hit,” he said.

However, with the help of Hard Rock’s
corporate office, the Cayman branch was replenished and now contains such gems
as a pair of Elton John’s glasses, John Lennon’s hat, and a pair of Madonna’s

“The corporate support was great
and they flew down a team from Orlando to replace all of the memorabilia,” said
Mr. Doyle.

“It was sad to see guitars and
posters in that state, but the shiny new pieces we received were good too.”

After the storm died down, Hard
Rock was one of the first companies to get a container out of Florida full of
supplies, Mr. Doyle explained.

That container held materials for
the clean-up operation of Hard Rock as well supplies for the rest of the Island.

“From diapers to cereal bars and
generators to bottled water; we had them on island within five days. It was
remarkable,” said Mr. Doyle.

“We reached out and our corporate
suppliers helped hugely in this. There were queues of people outside Hard Rock
every morning,” he said.

The staff at Hard Rock proved to be
troopers as well, showing up at the cafe in the days following the devastating
storm to help with the clean up.

“It was a credit to our staff
during this time. Like all of us, they went through it badly in their
respective shelters and apartments… It shows the nature of a person when they
are there the day after such an event and willing to give their all and open
back up.

“We bounced back quickly. We gave
all of our staff the option to fly home and we paid for their tickets, just to
give them a chance to ‘dry out’ and clean themselves up. Many took it and most
came back. They know who they are,” Mr. Doyle said.