Lagos’ Hard Rock Cafe is officially open. Located in the heart of the Atlantic coast city, the restaurant with a swimming pool, three bars and the world famous Rock Shop is expected to draw Nigerians from the wealthy, middle and elite classes.
The restaurant joins over 138 other cafes around the world – and is only the fourth in Africa, after successful entries in Egypt, South Africa and Tunisia.
The Hard Rock Cafe first opened its doors in central London 45 years ago before expanding with restaurants worldwide. It is best known for its collection of music memorabilia that adorns its venues around the world.
“I think Nigeria is more than ready for us. They have ample population, big population, a lot of wealth, they’re an engine of economic growth in Africa and the people here love a good time, they love music and good food so it just makes sense now,” said Chief Executive Officer for Hard Rock Cafe International, Hamish Dodds.
However, the economic experts claim that now is a difficult time to do business in Nigeria as the country faces its worst economic crisis in decades, but Dodds was quick to point out that Hard Rock Cafe was aware of this risk and that it was much like many of its other investments.
The falling prices of oil – Nigeria’s lifeblood – have slashed revenues prompting the central bank to peg the currency and introduce curbs to conserve foreign exchange reserves which have fallen to a more than 11-year low.
Companies have laid off thousands, cut production and even closed operations as they struggle to get enough dollars to pay for imported spare parts and raw materials.
South Africa’s Clover Industries, a diary products company said two weeks ago it will no longer invest in Nigeria due to the financial crisis.
Fashion retailer Truworths said this month it pulled out of its Nigerian business saying it was unable to import clothes and was struggling to pay rent and access foreign exchange.