For more than 40 years, Hard Rock Café has been about the harmony of music and food, but recently the company, with 138 café locations worldwide, turned up the volume.

With the launch of its Artist of the Month program in August, the casual-dining chain is providing artists yet another platform, this time to showcase their latest music videos.

Under the direction of Hard Rock’s director of music relations, James Buell, the Orlando, Florida-based company, introduced the program with Mayer Hawthorne as the brand’s first featured artist.

“There has always been a very strong focus on music within Hard Rock,” says Buell, “but we wanted to make it a little more black and white.”

Throughout the month of August, Hawthorne’s most recent single, “Her Favorite Song,” was highlighted on Hard Rock’s in-café video system, playing more than 1,000 times a day on more than 20,000 screens in all of the chain’s locations worldwide.

“We showed the video on every screen once every 90 minutes,” says Buell. “Our hope is that every guest will see this artist at least once during their visit.”

Founded by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton in London in mid 1971, Hard Rock Café has long maintained its musical roots.

“We wanted to make an even stronger musical focus as part of our marketing plan,” says Buell. “We really wanted to leverage this asset (video capabilities) and I think it is going to evolve month over month.”

Staying true to a concept’s origins is not only good marketing; it’s also good for business.

“This move is part of delivering to our guests what they are expecting from the Hard Rock experience,” says Buell.

The selection process for the Artist of the Month program is “ongoing,” and done through conversations with record labels or directly with the artist. “We do want them (artists) to be excited about it,” says Buell, “and help push out the news as much as we do.”

By Ellen Koteff

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, Marketing & Promotions, Hard Rock Cafe