ORLANDO-Minneapolis real estate developer Ralph Burnet flies first class in hiring executive talent to grow his newly-bought NBA City restaurant located at Universal Orlando. The restaurant’s first president/CEO is James T. Stanley, senior vice president of operations at Planet Hollywood International Inc. and a former hands-on executive at Hard Rock Cafe International Inc., both locally-based companies.

Burnet tapped the 49-year-old Stanley for the job because of the restaurant executive’s experience in opening restaurants for Hard Rock in 20 countries from 1987 to 1995. Burnet is part-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team.

Stanley’s priority list for early 2001 is topped by expansion plans in either New York or Los Angeles, followed by near future openings in other National Basketball Association cities and in Asia. The NBA has no direct equity interest in the restaurant but licenses its name and provides marketing and promotional support. The league would acquire some equity in the restaurant only if it becomes profitable.

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