Post of the Day
June 3, 1999

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[Note: This post is from our Save Planet Hollywood contest. Enter, and you may win a trip for four to L.A.!]

Subject: Planet Hollywood
Author: kdbinmpls

There are a few things about PHL that can be leveraged much better than they presently are. But first some remedial work must be undertaken.

Look for other companies to take over the non PHL locations. Focus on Planet Hollywood, don't dilute the brand with offshoots. If you can get others to take over the failing concept stores you can get rid of the long-term leases, and allow the company to refocus. This should reduce costs and maybe even bring in a few real dollars, but it'll almost certainly result in a loss on the books.

Get the debt load under control. Secondary stock offerings and floating new bonds to consolidate debt are presently out of the question. While you're at the bottom is the best time to get concessions from creditors. They'd rather get their money late, than get 50% through a liquidation. Renegotiate to stretch payment terms as far as possible.

That thud you just heard is hitting bottom. Now it's time to raise the PHL ship anew and make some money. To do that the revenue side needs an infusion. Like a oft-shot hero whispering "must fill up the seats" before they jump up and slay the bad guys, making the world safe for diners everywhere.

The biggest thing PHL had at the beginning was excitement. Regenerate that excitement through promotions. Get more celebs to have signings, and other events [at] the restaurants. Publicize these widely through low-cost blurbs on drive-time radio (Demi Mooore will be signing memorabilia at Planet Hollywood in the Mall of America 3-4 pm Saturday. Get a free poster with each entree ordered!), web-site, and "events columns" in local media. Time them for low-traffic periods.

Host events for tie in with movie releases with a nearby theatre. Put together a dinner-and-a-movie package, that offers a value over the separate items (price it to include a free appetizer). Busy folks would love this. No waiting in line for tickets, just show up, eat, pay, wander over to the theatre (provide transportation if it's a few blocks away...) plop down and digest the movie. Heck you might even be able to work out a preferred seating arrangement for diners.

Since PHL is a restaurant, get the food side of things in order. Do a few things well. Make sure it's fresh, tasty, and a reasonable value. Make sure there's something for every one, but don't sway far from the mainstream. Daily specials can generate a diversity in foods that will keep those looking for something new coming back.

Pay attention to service. People are willing to pay more for good service in an average restaurant. I'd happily bring a date to a place I know is fun, but I'm not alone when I say I simply won't return to a place where I received bad service. Good service has the ability to turn an average experience into a fun time.

There are lots of other creative ideas that could be turned into revenues or reduced costs that would help refloat the ship. Don't ignore them.