The first Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) opened 14 June 1971, in London, England under the ownership of young Americans Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett. Hard Rock initially hadan eclectic decor but it later started to display memorabilia. Hard Rock has amassed one of the largest collections of rock and roll memorabilia in the world. Thechain began to expand worldwide in 1982 with locations in (among others) Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris and Berlin. Hard Rock Cafe locations in theUnited States vary from smaller, more tourist driven markets (Biloxi, Destin, Gatlinburg, Key West, etc.) to large metropolises (Houston, Philadelphia, New York,Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, etc.). Hard Rock Cafe does not franchise cafe locations in the United States. All US Cafes are corporate owned and operated.
In 1990,The Rank Group, a London-based leisure company, acquired Mecca Leisure Group and continued expansion of the concept in its geographic territory. Rank went on topurchase Hard Rock America from Peter Morton as well as Hard Rock Canada from Nick Bitove. After the completion of these acquisitions, Rank gained worldwide control of thebrand. In March 2007, the Seminole Tribe of Florida acquired Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. and other related entities from Rank for US$965 million. In 2008,anonymous members of the wait staff criticized the business because of its practice of paying them less than half the official minimum wage in the UK, with the businessallocating tips to staff to bring their salaries within the law. Most customers, it was argued, do not realize that they are subsidizing a low wage when they give
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