Don't you get a mixture of products and require harsh conditions by that route?
I think so..
Commercial Methods for Preparation of Phenols:
1. From Chlorobenzene (Dow's Process)
"you can obtain 4-chloro derivative of acetanilide using the FeCl3/Cl2 reagent"
Chlorobenzene is heated with 10% aqueous sodium hydroxide solution at about 623 K under 200 atmospheres and in the presence of copper salt acting as catalyst to form sodium phenoxide. The sodium salt when treated with dilute HCl, gives phenol.
2. From Cumene Hydroperoxide method
"The isopropyl group can be added at para position on acetanilide using Friedel-Crafts alkylation (anhyd.AlCl3/ 2-chloro propane)"
Air or oxygen is passed through a suspension of cumene in aqueous sodium carbonate solution in presence of cobalt or manganese naphthenate catalyst. The xidation product is cumene hydroperoxide.
The hydroperoxide is then decomposed by hot dilute sulphuric acid when phenol is formed with liberation of acetone. Acetone is removed from phenol by distillation.
3. From Benzene (Raschig's method)
Vapours of HCl are passed over benzene at 500 K in the presence of copper chloride and excess of air to form chlorobenzene. Steam is then passed through chlorobenzene at 800 K in the presence of silica as catalyst to give phenol.