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Tuesday, October 12, 1999 Published at 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK


Chips are down for Planet Hollywood

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore: Planet Hollywood backers

Planet Hollywood is closing nine of its 32 restaurants in the US as the struggling celebrity-backed chain heads for bankruptcy.

The eight-year-old company, whose investors include film stars Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, is thought to have expanded too quickly and borrowed too heavily.

[ image: The restaurant chain expanded too quickly]
The restaurant chain expanded too quickly
The nine sites given the chop include restaurants in Chicago, Hawaii, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix.

The Orlando-based company is also planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions on Tuesday as the first step of a previously-announced debt restructuring plan.

The planned bankruptcy is the latest setback for Planet Hollywood, which has nearly 80 restaurants worldwide.

Chairman and chief executive Robert Earl said his company still enjoys the support of the celebrities.

"We believe our formula still works and we are still enjoying the support of Hollywood," he said.

[ image: Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl with Sylvester Stallone]
Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl with Sylvester Stallone
"As I speak to you at this moment, Bruce Willis is holding court in the middle of our New York restaurant which is very supportive and gratifying to us."

As part of the reorganisation, the company's two largest shareholders and a trust for Earl's children have agreed to provide a $30m (£18.75m) cash injection to help keep the chain going.

He said the main burden now for the company is to revive consumer confidence in the restaurant.

"The product inside the restaurant is excellent and customer reaction is highly favourable, but since the announcement a few weeks ago we we lost some business due to a confusion in marketplace that we are actually closed.

"This is the first step in revival of our chain because the non-profitable units have been cut off."

[ image: Fashion Cafe: Difficult times for Naomi's venture]
Fashion Cafe: Difficult times for Naomi's venture
The Planet Hollywood concept has spawned a number of celebrity-backed imitators, but they have been suffering too.

The Fashion Cafe, launched in 1995 by supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson, called in the receivers last year after a slump in custom.

Steven Spielberg backed Dive, a doomed submarine-shaped restaurant in Los Angeles with a giant cinema screen taking diners on undersea voyages.

Magician David Copperfield reportedly ploughed millions into a Magic Underground scheme which vanished without trace.

And David Hasselhoff tried to launch a Baywatch Cafe chain complete with waitresses in red swimsuits.

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