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Design of Goods and Services in Hard Rock Cafe


Hard Rock Cafe is a chain of restaurants founded 39 years ago and gets its name from the cafe’s tradition to cover its walls with rock and rock memorabilia (Hard Rock Cafe, 2010). Currently, the cafe has a global presence in 53 countries and is headquartered in Florida. Recently, it has expanded into other businesses such as casinos and hotels. It also tried to invest in themes parks in 2006, an attempt that was not very successful since the park only lasted for a year. The business focuses on giving its customers hard rock experiences which are incorporated in their food, hotels, music, and memorabilia merchandise shops.

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Product design and decision-making in Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe’s products are designed based on different factors. The Cafe tries to incorporate its products with the culture and expectations of the people from the specific region they are establishing a branch in. Hard Rock Cafe’s main product is the food they produce but other products include rock memorabilia sold in their merchandise shops as well as various other experiences. Product design in Hard Rock Cafes includes a lot of testing and trial for quality, customer satisfaction, and cost-efficiency, and according to their Senior Vice President in strategic planning Scott Little, the business has to determine the brand fit of a product before it is implemented in the market (Jay & Render, 2009).

Just like it is in other industries, the process starts with the generation of an idea which could be from imagination, the business’ observations, and many times research. The idea’s need base is then identified by deciding on whether the new product is intended to solve a problem, follow a new trend, or accomplish a specific task. Design solutions that make a big part of the company’s decision making are evaluated based on the product’s ability to meet consumers’ needs, ease or difficulty of developing the concept, the ergonomics, and availability of resources such as technology and professionalism to implement the new product. What then follows is the production of the new product and finally marketing which involves selling the product.

When the cafe is considering a new product in a specific or all branch, the product has to fit the brand name’s standards and it has to fit the context of countries or regions it is being introduced. Information and research may be necessary for establishing this but Hard Rock Cafe’s biggest source of information is customers’ feedback. This is perhaps due to the fact that in the restaurant industry, customers are very specific on satisfaction and not just the physical product. The strategic management of Rock Cafe focuses on giving its customers unique products and experiences, affordability, and makes decisions that are able to attract quick responses from the market.

Product life cycle

Every new product progress through a series of stages from the birth of the idea to its decline, a process known as the product life cycle. Hard Rock Cafe’s products, whether it is a new item on the menu or a new branch are developed in four stages. The first stage is discovery where customers seeking unspoiled products, as new products are called, try them out. These are consumers who are eager to identify new products with new experiences. At this stage, the attitude of the market towards the product has a big impact on it. This stage involves a lot of research, product development, product modification and enhancement, and supplier development. Pricing, distribution, and promotion are critical in this stage.

The second stage is the launch or growth where customers increase and the business starts to respond by providing constant and flowing availability. At this stage, the relationship between the customers and the business or in the case of a new branch, the relationship between locals and the business is extremely important and must remain harmonious. Customers may stay or leave to look for new options. The product’s design is stabilizing and it is necessary to have an effective capacity forecast. Addition or enhancement of capacity may be important. Pricing, distribution, and promotion are still critical.

The third stage is the stagnation stage where saturation level is reached. Customers’ enthusiasm dies, the quality of the product is not as exciting as when it was new, and demand for the product starts to decline. The product is said to have reached maturity at this point and the customers who stick to it after this are bound to stay for a long time. Other customers move on to new products and search for new and more exciting options. Innovative ideas are critical here if the product has to last. At this point, the businesses also need improved cost control.

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The fourth and last stage is decline. Here the business has to make a very tough decision on whether to keep the product for the remaining customers or to withdraw it from the market. If the product no longer has any special contribution to the business, then it is economically wise to terminate it. Hard Rock Cafe has had very exciting products in the past which didn’t survive for long such as the theme Park in 2006, while it has had some that have survived since its inception with few modifications, most of which are food products. The business’ new exciting product currently is the memorabilia merchandise shop which accounts for 48% of the company’s sales and which gives customers a satisfying rock experience (Grushkin & Joel, 2009).

Issues for product development

One of the biggest issues during product development is timing. Considering the fact that Rock Cafe has an international presence, the economies and suitability of products in different places may differ. The business then goes through the patterns in different countries to establish when to develop a product and where. Basically, the business considers the existence of an environment that can sustain a product, the potential to attract customers and investors to the product at that particular time, and the availability and cost-effectiveness of technology and other resources to develop the product.

The design of products is a critical decision in Hard Rock Cafe. The business’ main product is food and it puts a lot of effort to ensure their customers are satisfied. The product must also be cost-effective to both the customer and the business. Another important issue is managing quality. The business only develops a new product when they know they can ensure consistency in availability and quality. For example, it will only put an item on its menu if there is a guarantee for a continuous supply of ingredients. The business places a lot of importance on hiring professionals and training to ensure quality.

The third issue is the process strategy which allows Hard Rock creates its products in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective, quality-assuring, and which meets labor requirements. The whole process of the development of a product is designed to give the business a strategic advantage (Jay & Render, 2009). Finally, the business pays attention to the location to ensure the developed products are available in the right markets. The business has been largely targeting tourists lately and establishing a presence in most tourists destination cities.


Grushkin, P., & Joel, S. (2009). Treasures of the Hard Rock Cafe: The official guide to the Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia collection. Chicago, IL: Rare Air Media.

Hard Rock Cafe.(2010). Business history. Web.

Jay, H., & Render, B. (2009). Operations Management: Flexible edition. Prentice Hall.

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