Dining in India now gets the Hollywood touch

NEW DELHI: Better late than never. Planet Hollywood, promoted by stars like Bruce Willis and film actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1992, has plans to dazzle India with a chain of branded restaurants.

Initial plan is to invest up to $ 15 million in five restaurants by 2010 with the first one slated to come up in Mumbai next year adjacent to a 400-room hotel property.

In line with its philosophy of starry dining and experience, Planet Hollywood not only plans to bring in some Hollywood stars as part of promotional blitz, but also wants to rope in Indian stars like former Miss Universe and Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen for endorsement.

For the Indian foray, Planet Hollywood has signed a master franchisee agreement with the US-based Arch Millennium Corp, which is promoted by Indian-origin businessmen.

"We plan to open one restaurant each in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Goa and Hyderabad," Arch Millennium president and CEO Siddharth Mobar was quoted by Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying today.

As per the company's plans, guests in Planet Hollywood India restaurant will be able to see what's happening in other restaurant locations such as New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, London and Paris.

"We would be bringing in big stars like Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone in India as part of our promotional activities, while also trying to get other ones like Paris Hilton and Justin Timberlake (a teen heart-throb who was a boyfriend of Britney Spears and is the current squeeze of Cameroon Diaz)," Mobar was quoted by the news agency as saying.

The company, which has many of the dishes named on Hollywood stars, plans to add the local Indian flavor by roping in some of Bollywood's stars in the coming time. Some of the unique dishes which will be on offer include 'Chicken Crunch' based on Indecent Proposal star Demi Moore's recipe and 'Banana Strudle', which is based on a recipe of Schwarzenegger's mother.

"We will also be displaying and selling Hollywood movie merchandise," Mobar said, adding that this contributed about 10 per cent to revenue of each restaurant worldwide.

Each Planet Hollywood restaurant houses memorabilia from movies, old and new. The interior decor reflects various movie genre, including action, horror and Sci-Fi and the audio-visual system plays the latest movie trailers, clips, music videos and celebrity visits.

Planet Hollywood founder and chairman Robert Earl was quoted as saying there was a huge potential in the Indian market for their brand. "This franchisee agreement will bring the excitement of Hollywood and combine it with the power of Bollywood in a very special way," he said in a statement.

Overall, there are 28 Planet Hollywood restaurants in locations like the US, Paris, London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Beijing.

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