Attending an International Business Seminar program is an unforgettable experience. They provide you with a trip like none other. Through their program, you are able to stay in 4-star hotels, visit a handful of countries and cities in one trip, make new friends, and connect professionally with other businessmen and women. A way that they give you this business experience is by scheduling company visits. In each country I went to there was about one or two companies that we visited that would give us a tour and would hold a business presentation and discussion afterward. For example, in London, we visited Parliament and Chelsea Football Club. In France, we visited Hard Rock Café (my favorite)and Champagne Lanson. In Germany, we visited Frankfurt Airport, and in The Netherlands, we visited KPMG and Grant Thornton. This was so rewarding because we were able to see first-hand what was different and what was similar to business in the U.S.
My favorite company visit was the Hard Rock Café. Maybe I am a little biased because this is the company I was asked to prepare a presentation for, but I really did enjoy my time there. We went to Hard Rock Café in the morning and had a meeting with the Assistant General Manager, Liam Fahey. He explained that he handles the hiring seminars for new employees. He was extremely passionate about his job and his love for the company exuded through his presentation. It was an engaging experience that kept my attention. He went over a brief overview of the company’s history and went on to talk about the atmosphere of the company and the culture that he tries to create for his particular location.
Here is a list of some of my favorite points from Hard Rock Café and some fun facts I learned at the company visit:
• First Hard Rock: 1971, London, England: They say the way to becoming an entrepreneur is to solve an issue. Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton did just that. The American men wanted to find the perfect burger to satisfy their liking in London, so they opened up their own restaurant that served burgers and other American style food. Both men came from food industry families with Morton’s mother being the president of Morton’s Steakhouse and Tigrett’s father holding the patent for Glub-Glub drinking ducks. Their landlord gave them a 6-month lease to an old Rolls Royce dealership.
• 1979: Eric Clapton was a regular at the cafe and asked that his guitar be hung over his barstool to mark his spot. A few weeks later Pete Townshend sent his guitar to the café and asked that his be hung as well because “mine is as good as his.” The memorabilia collection at hard rock café started with two guitar players one-upping each other. Now The Hard Rock has over 80,000 pieces in their collection.
• 2007: The Seminole Tribe of Florida bought the company for $965 million dollars. Their main goal is to add casinos to existing hotels.
• 2011: As well as Hard Rock celebrating its 40th anniversary, Rita Gilligan celebrates her 40th year working for the company. She was hired by Isaac and Peter as the first employee. Now, she is retired but sometimes travels the world as a Hard Rock spokesperson.
• Their motto: Love All Serve All: Something I loved about their motto is that I could feel that they lived this out. In the discussion, Liam made all of us feel comfortable to be there. He made the questions we asked feel valuable and equally important. It was great to be in a business setting environment where everyone was evenly respected. I felt that he was a great speaker and I could feel that he enjoyed his place of work. I could see that his joy for his company influenced his employees.
I also learned that Hard Rock’s main source of revenue was their t-shirts and gift shop. This surprised me because I thought that the restaurant would be their main source. Going to Hard Rock Café was a great trip. Touring the company and holding a discussion with the Assistant General Manager was eye-opening. I was able to see how a little bit of passion can affect a company in a big way. I will never forget the company visit to Hard Rock Café. It taught me that it doesn’t take much to start a successful business if you have a passion for your product. I also learned that in order to have the best influence on your employees, you must lead by example and that is exactly what Liam Fahey does.