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By Thahasello Mphatsoe

Multimedia Journalist


Hard Rock Café rebrands – Bringing a localised world-class experience

The Hard Rock Cafe brand has over 192 cafes customised to different locations worldwide. The South African rebrand was undoubtedly due.


Hard Rock Café rebranded its Sandton location on 25 November into what the marketing manager of Hard Rock Café South Africa, Catherine Dickinson, described as “a localised world-class experience”.

Hard Rock Café changes

To kick start this rebirth, the day was no short of feeling localised, from the revamped menu comprising South African menu essentials, meat platters, and a musical lineup that now integrates local musicians such as DJ Zinhle. The space brings local genres such as Gqom and Amapiano into the Hard Rock sound of electric-style Rock and roll.

DJ Zinhle
DJ Zinhle performed on the opening night at the Hard Rock Cafe Johannesburg. Picture: Thahasello Mphatsoe, 25/11/2022

“Hard Rock Café is one of the largest music memorabilia and museum in the world, so it is no surprise that music played the most vital part in this rebrand,” says Dickinson.

The brand dates back 50 years and has over 192 cafes customised to different locations worldwide. The South African rebrand was undoubtedly due.

WATCH: Hard Rock Cafe South Africa’s on its rebranding

@thecitizen_news #HardRockCafe has rebranded its #sandton cafe to bring a localized world-class experience. With 192 stores worldwide Hard Rock Cafe aims to bring a customized cafes to each location. For South Africa that looked like incorporating local music such as #gqom and #amapiano , having local artists such as #DJZinhle be a part of the space and a new local menu. #thecitizennews ♬ original sound – The Citizen

“We wanted to create something appealing for the South African guest. We want people to feel included in the space,” says Catherine Dickinson.

South Africans can turn a space into a groove spot; Hard Rock Cafe Johannesburg did it on their terms. The space has incorporated a family-friendly day setting and a more lively lifestyle at night.

Catherine Dickinson says, “Change the music, and the aesthetic will follow. The rebrand is centred around four main elements; music, food, beverage and retail”.

South Africa is a diverse crowd, and creating something that will appeal to everyone is challenging. Dickens says, “We don’t have one thing people will come here for. We want people to come for different things, whether the vibe, the music or the menu”.

We have seen many businesses rise and fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet many brands were able to look at this time to get back to the drawing board and come back with new concepts that have kept them and helped them stay sustainable.

People are certainly looking for spaces that will add value to them. With the brand being in South Africa for over 10 years now and this year being the first festive season out of lockdown, the rebrand comes just in time for the anticipated festive season.

Hard Rock Cafe’s Sandton location hopes to offer a “lifestyle vibe in a safe space”.

Also read: Dean Kelly on his Mugg & Bean on the Move venture

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