Has the themed dining pioneer hit the coda mark?
The Hard Rock Cafe chain isn't exactly struggling. Planet Hollywood's failure seems to feed the illusion of themed eateries as passing fads, but the reality is completely different at the decades-old Hard Rock Cafe. The casual dining restaurant with music memorabilia flair has seen an 8% spike in comps through the first half of the year. More importantly, there are some amazing opportunities in growing its Hard Rock resort and casino business.
Private equity firms will be the logical suitors, but let's not dismiss the possibility of public companies like Hilton
I think Landry's would be the best fit here. It knows themed restaurants well, having acquired the Rainforest Cafe chain six years ago in a $125 million deal. Its appetite for dolled-up concepts continued earlier this year in its move to buy an 80% stake in T-Rex, a dino-themed eatery dreamed up by brilliant Rainforest Cafe creator Steven Schussler.
Landry's is also in tune with the glitzier side of the Hard Rock brand, acquiring the iconic Golden Nugget casino and hotel in Las Vegas last year. The major stumbling block is that Hard Rock may be too pricey and too big for Landry's to consume despite the logical overlap.
That brings us to larger hoteliers like InterContinental
The more that Rank explores the sale of Hard Rock, the hungrier the bidders may become. This is a hot property and an established brand hitting the market, and those rarely go out with a whimper. In other words, this song isn't ending -- it's just getting started.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has eaten at all of the existing themed chains mentioned in this story, but does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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