Hard Rock CEO: Tourists Need To Come Back For Business To Recover

Hard Rock CEO: Tourists Needed For Recovery

Hard Rock International is not expecting business to rebound before 2021.

“There’s going to be a real challenge, especially here in the United States, as far as ramping the business back up,” Hard Rock Chairman James Allen told CNBC Wednesday (April 22) regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re planning on that taking a year.”

Founded in London in 1971 and based in Florida, Hard Rock operates hotels, casinos and restaurants in 76 countries, according to the Hard Rock website.

Allen said even after shuttered casinos, hotels and cafes reopen, he doesn’t expect customers to fill seats and beds.

If the reopened Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen in China is an indicator, it will be a long struggle worldwide. He said the occupancy rate at the hotel is in the low double-digits.

“We reopened the Shenzhen Hotel, obviously [in] a global city in China. Beautiful property,” he told CNBC. “Occupancy is right now at 12 percent. We’ve been reopened for a good three and a half, almost four weeks.”

Allen said the coronavirus pandemic, which was first spotted in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year, began to flatten in China in March. As a result, Hard Rock and many businesses there have reopened.

Allen said tourists traditionally filled the Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen and the company’s other global properties.

“If you look at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square [in New York City], a restaurant that does $50 million in actual sales, that’s all tourism,” he said. “… London is tourism.”

While he said he was excited to see Florida making a comeback with crowded Jacksonville beaches, Allen said he thinks it might be temporary.

“… I think that’s just the initial get-out-of-the-house [push],” he said.

On March 20, Hard Rock closed all company-owned Hard Rock entities in the U.S. and abroad.

“The safety and security of guests, team members and their families is, and has always been, Hard Rock’s highest priority,” the company said in a statement. “Over the past several weeks, Hard Rock properties have operated by working closely with safety and health agencies to align with local, state, federal and global public health guidelines in response to COVID-19.”

The closures support local, state and international efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus through social distancing. Hard Rock International said it paid employees at U.S. company-owned and select international company-owned locations for two weeks following the close.