Big Volume with Hard Rocks New Menu

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Photo Courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe Washington

Remaking a menu can be painstaking, and without objectives and strategies, often pointless. Without a well-thought out process, chain restaurant menu remakes often fail to achieve their goals.

Doing it right is what won Hard Rock the 2015 VIBE Vista Award for best chain menu. Their objectives: Overhaul the entire beverage menu in order to grow the total beverage alcohol category by 1%, get every guest to two cocktails, two glasses of wine or two beers, reengineer the menu to elevate the guest experience as well as brand image, and support the company’s global brand.

First step was analyzing data and trend information, as well as what units could execute. Then, evaluate the menu to include relevant, on-brand cocktail, beer and wine offerings. Of course, making them shine on the menu is the ultimate point in menu recreation, so crafting an easily navigable beverage menu that stays at tables, and incorporates beverages that have authentic music industry tie-ins, was crucial.

After months of analysis Hard Rock Cafe teamed up with their internal Bar Counsel comprised of key bar managers and bartenders from around the world as well as with spirit partners, to create and launch their new streamlined beverage menu.

Reengineered sections include: “Get Your Fruit On,” comprised of fruity, fun vacation-style cocktails; “Comfortable Rum,” a collection of old standbys and new creations centered on rum and fresh ingredients -rum is a major sales driver for Hard Rock, especially their signature Hurricane; “Margarita Madness,” streamlined offerings from six to four recipes made with Hard Rock’s house-made fresh lemon and lime mix and including the newest addition and big success, the Air Mexico flight -a box served with the guest’s choice of three flavored Avon Tequila mini margaritas and a personal size portion of chips & salsa.

Also included - “Hard Core,” building on research that shows their customers favor multi-spirit cocktails, this section is made up of several Long Island Iced Tea inspired concoctions; “Luscious Lemonades and Sassy Sours,” sweet tart combinations including the signature Red Berry Press served tableside in a coffee press.

A variety of Mojitos, alcohol-free smoothies and mocktails, and boozy milkshakes made with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, beers listed by style and country of origin, and wines including those backed by musicians including Dave Matthews’ (The Dreaming Tree) and Train (Save Me San Francisco).

By streamlining the menu to a select list of offerings, rolling the new menu to the field in a targeted, strategic way and staying true to the brand, as of Nov 2014 Hard Rock’s liquor, beer and wines sales were up 9 percent YTD, nearly $7 million with a better year end number in sight.

Broken out by segment, that means 14% increase in liquor, a 7.8% increase in wine, a 4.3% increase in draft beer and a1.6% increase in alcohol-free beverages, successful by anyone’s measure.