Aucklanders wanting to get an ear full of rock n’ roll and a mouth full of ribs at the Viaduct Harbour will have to stay hungry, after reported plans for a Hard Rock Cafe have gone all quiet on the dining front.
Reports in the New Zealand Herald last year suggested there were plans for the international restaurant brand, Hard Rock Cafe, to open in the summer of 2015/16.
While there is still no sign of the Hard Rock brand at the Quay street and Viaduct property where it was reportedly planned to be, there is evidence of construction and renovation behind the property’s locked doors.
The property’s building manager Phillip Andrews said he was unable to provide any information on the mysterious renovation or comment on whether a Hard Rock Cafe in Auckland is still going to happen.
A variety of workers in the area have said they had definitely heard the rock n’ roll themed restaurant was meant be opening sometime at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, but were unsure of when.
One worker said he had noticed tradesmen coming and going from the site most days, and a woman working nearby said a party had taken place there around two months earlier.
Mel Halil, a manager at neighbouring establishment Snapdragon, said she heard that the proposed franchise may have actually been changed to something else.
“I’m not too sure if its even a Hard Rock Cafe to be honest,” she said. “I’ve heard all sorts.”
And Ms Halil said there were no signs of any opening nights happening around the corner.
“I keep hearing different things as well. Hard Rock, and I think, Little Easy in Ponsonby - I heard they bought it out as well,” she said.
“I’ve heard there’s still quite a long way to go . . . Whatever is happening, the plans keep changing.”
Ms Halil said there aren't many people at the site apart from builders.
“There’s just been heaps of construction. We had construction people building the escalators, but that’s just to get to the first floor.”
As far as the international restaurant goes, she says its anyone’s guess.
“I heard it was going to happen, then it wasn't going to happen, then it was, and now it's not.”
In an email response, Danielle Paleafico from Coyne Public Relations, Hard Rock’s media representatives, said:
“We do not have any information to share at this time in regard to Auckland. We will certainly let you know once we are able to share more info.”
A Wikipedia page indicates an Auckland franchise is in the works, with an opening date set for November 2016.
There has not been a Hard Rock Cafe in New Zealand since the country’s Queenstown franchise closed its doors for the last time in September 2004.
Hard Rock lists investor information and estimates for establishing new franchises on their website with low investment estimates set at just under U.S $3 million, and on the higher side, estimates reach just under U.S $5 million.
In the South-Pacific region, Hard Rock Cafes are located in Surfers Paradise and Sydney, Australia, and in Nadi, Fiji.