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June 22, 2021

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Hard Rock looking to fill many management jobs, including CEO

Cornell University professor writes scientific guide to getting better tips

Hard Rock

Steve Marcus

A view of the Hard Rock hotel-casino at Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011.

Looking to run a casino? The Hard Rock might be hiring — just not now.

Several management jobs are open at the Hard Rock Hotel in the wake of an ownership change after the property defaulted on more than $1 billion in loans. Among them is the top post held by Joe Magliarditi, who resigned after less than a year as president and CEO and before lenders took ownership last month. Former Station Casinos executive Bill Warner will fill Magliarditi’s post after his casino management company, Warner Gaming, was licensed to run the Hard Rock for lenders.

He may seek a permanent replacement for Magliarditi, however. Warner’s company typically acts as a transition team, finding and cultivating managers with the goal of turning around or building up a casino enterprise.

Most open positions were from attrition as people left amid financial turmoil and weren’t replaced, Warner said.

Although the Hard Rock is on more stable footing, Warner said he has not yet begun the hiring process and is being careful about selecting candidates.

“We need to get in there and understand what we need at the property first,” he said.

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Budget hotels in Las Vegas have fared worse in the recession than upscale competitors that are discounting rooms.

Among the budget hotels is the Stratosphere, which spent $20 million upgrading rooms and other areas.

After reporting a fourth-quarter loss on declining revenue, the parent company of the Stratosphere last week said the property is losing market share because demand hasn’t kept up with the supply of thousands of hotel rooms built during the recession.

“People continue to be very frugal in their spending and we haven’t seen any change in that,” American Casino & Entertainment CEO Frank Riolo said.

Still, executives say the upgrades were partly inspired by a recent uptick in convention business at newer, bigger resorts. That could trickle down to older properties that don’t cater as much to conventiongoers, as tourists priced out of rooms on the Strip still seek inviting accommodations.

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Tipping is an unscientific art. But a professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration who has published more than 35 academic papers on the subject takes a more scientific approach in a manual of 20 techniques experimentally tested to boost servers’ tips.

They include touching customers, complimenting the customer’s food choices, forecasting good weather and drawing pictures on the customer’s check, according to Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behavior and marketing. Exceptions include customers in a high-end restaurant who wouldn’t appreciate a server squatting next to them when taking an order. Also, standing close to customers may not always inspire bigger tips, as people have different standards for personal space. Lynn also has practical experience: He paid his way through school by waiting tables.

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