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Force revamps faded food star

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Monday 22nd April 2002

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Troubled entertainment company Force Corp (NZSE: FOR) is undertaking a partial renovation at its loss-making Planet Hollywood restaurant this week.

The restaurant, which is sited in the company's Force Entertainment Centre on Queen Street in Auckland, lost $1.5 million in the year ended June 2001 and was slated for a complete review.

At the time of its full-year result last year Force said it would be calling on the expertise of Sky City's (NZSE: SKC) food and beverage personnel to get the outlet back to profit. Sky City is the majority owner of Force.

Renovation of the restaurant includes overhauling kitchen facilities and offering a new menu and new computerised cashiering system.

Marketing manager of the Force Entertainment complex, Phil Holden, says the improvement of facilities is an indication of Sky City's commitment to maximising its investment in Force Corporation's flagship site.

"Planet Hollywood was in need of some improvement and it's encouraging to see an investment being made in the centre's most prominent restaurant so quickly after a change in ownership.

"The renovation of kitchen facilities and the installation of Micros computer technology, the same as Sky City Auckland's, will mean that we are able to provide customers with much better service, and staff with a more effective work environment."

Mr Holden says the restaurant has also recently employed a new chef who has overhauled the existing menu to include local dishes.

The Auckland outlet is one of just 33 Planet Hollywood restaurants remaining worldwide, down from more than 80 when the chain was at its peak. Around two-thirds of the chain are franchises.

US-based Planet Hollywood is currently trying to get back on its feet after filing for bankruptcy protection last October for the second time in two years. The owners of another theme-restaurant chain, Rainforest Café, have been quoted as potential buyers of the business.

The Auckland restaurant is due to re-open for business next Tuesday, April 30.

Earlier this month Force closed down its franchised cinema operation, Imax, at the Queen Street entertainment complex because it was running at a loss.

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