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March 25, 2013
Rita Gilligan MBE: she's served more rock stars than most of us have had hot dinners
Rita Gilligan MBE: she’s served more rock stars than most of us have had hot dinners

The Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh celebrated its fifteenth birthday party last week. The George Street venue threw an almighty bash which featured the band Bags of Rock – imagine that the Tattoo decided to make a baby with punk band The Exploited and you’d get a fair idea of the bagpipe driven chaos.

Glasgow branch

While it has yet to be officially confirmed, the talk of the party was that a new branch of the Hard Rock Cafe is scheduled to open in Glasgow this autumn.

Attending the Edinburgh hoolie was Rita Gilligan MBE. The Hard Rock Cafe’s longest serving waitress, she started with the company in 1971 when the first Hard Rock Cafe opened on Hyde Park in London. These days, she acts as the cultural attache for the brand and does the staff orientation at each new opening.

Fantastic customer service

Mrs Gilligan is obviously doing something right as the staff at the party played a blinder. There was a free bar all night which will give some indication of how hectic it got.  No matter how busy it became, the staff were unfailingly calm, helpful and friendly. From corner cafes to five star hotels, I suspect that everyone in the catering industry could learn something from going to the Hard Rock Cafe for a burger and shake.

As always at the Hard Rock, rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia takes pride of place on the walls. The Edinburgh branch currently sports a tuxedo worn by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger during their 1976 tour, and a black leather skull jacket worn by Ringo Starr. A sombrero worn by Elvis is on another wall as is a T-shirt worn by Slash.

I won!!!!

The evening was particularly memorable for your blogger as I won the silent auction for a guitar signed by all the members of Iron Maiden. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go and practice the chord changes for Run to the Hills.

The Hard Rock's ever smiling staff
The Hard Rock’s ever smiling staff