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Planet Hollywood Opens Its First Ice Cream Shop, in Santa Monica

July 08, 1998|MARLA MATZER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Six months after announcing a fourth-quarter loss of $44 million due to slumping sales and plans to scale back expansion, the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain on Tuesday unveiled its first dessert and ice cream location, on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade.

The new stores, called Cool Planet, are a 50-50 joint venture with food concessionaire Host Marriott Services. The company expects to have 20 stores by the end of the year.

The number of projected stores is four times the figure announced last month, when the two companies disclosed the venture. The other 19 locations include Anaheim and Irvine.

Unlike Planet Hollywood, which is a full-service restaurant with relatively high start-up costs and overhead, the Cool Planet stores will be less expensive to operate and do much of their business with walk-up customers.

Menu items include Close Encounters of Expresso (for about $2) and King Konga banana splits ($4 to $5). There also are plans to market Cool Planet desserts at upscale grocery stores and markets by 1999.

Planet Hollywood hopes to continue to trade on celebrity cachet by trotting out such star shareholders as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis at various events.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg was on hand to introduce the Santa Monica store. Goldberg will be the "lead spokesperson" for Cool Planet, according to a company statement.

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