Waiting at international airports for a long-haul flight might soon become a pleasurable experience with cult rock, dining and entertainment brand Hard Rock Café International all set to bring its new concept, Hard Rock Bar, to Indian airports.
The first Hard Rock Bar in the country—there are only two such outlets globally—is scheduled to open at Hyderabad’s new international airport on 16 March, Jay Singh, managing director of HR Café India Pvt. Ltd, said.
The cult hard rock and casual dining café is also set to open its largest outlet in the country, a 10,000 sq. ft riverside property in Pune this April, with plans to add at least one more of its large-format cafes by the end of 2008, said Singh, also the managing director of food and beverages company JSM Corp.
With India now an important destination for business and leisure travel and more and more Indians travelling by air, the government is in the process of setting up a number of new airports with private sector participation, the first of which will be in the southern cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad.
“Indian airports are going to be great locations for these bars because at the moment they offer nothing in terms of entertainment or quality dining. As the number of airports increases, we intend to grow the Hard Rock Bar brand,” Singh said.
Hard Rock Café International opened its trademark Hard Rock Café at Singapore’s Changi airport in January.
Hard Rock Bars are smaller- format, limited-menu rock and dining outlets, currently open in Malta and Macau. The outlet at Hyderabad’s new international airport, for which the company has signed a long lease, will be a 2,000 sq. ft property that offers casual American-style dining and music.
The company will also eventually grow the bar concept through other locations, including malls.
“Real estate cost is a huge dampening factor in the growth of Hard Rock Café, which we want to take to all the metros as soon as possible. But we believe there is going to be a correction in the space in the near future,” Singh said.
The dining chain’s Pune outlet will be a 200-seater, with a bar, an open courtyard for rock that can hold 300-400 people, and an extensive collection of rock memorabilia in its signature Hard Rock Merchandise outlet.
The company’s first outlet in India, which opened in Mumbai’s mill district in 2006, is a 6,000 sq. ft unit, while the Bangalore restaurant, launched towards the end of 2007, is spread over 9,000 sq. ft.
“Our Mumbai outlet has 5,000 footfalls every week, which is high up in the performance scale of our global operations, and growing. Pune has a huge population of students, young people and expat community and we expect the brand to have an enthusiastic response in the city,” he said.