When surveyed, customers asked for “smaller items, craveable menu items, and a fresh burger,” he says. It also revealed that 57 percent of Hard Rock Cafe’s customers in the U.S. were aged 35–50, so the chain’s new menu needed to attract more millennials and Generation Xers to keep pace with changing demographics.
Everything on the new lineup, the strip of gold-leaf on the burgers, the milkshakes, and strawberry-infused cheesecake, is camera-ready. “The audience is looking for Instagrammable items,” Judge says.
The steakburger with fries sells for $24.95, of which $1 is donated to the non-profit Action Against Hunger. That was done because the millennial audience aspires to “noble causes and making sure you’re giving back to the community,” Judge says. A natural marketer, he calls it a “burger with a purpose.”
Judge says that the meat from the steakburger is supplied by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, known as one of the top prime meat suppliers in the New York City area. He says that the gold leaf emblazoned on the burger is often employed by pastry chefs at some fine-dining establishments and “has been pressed into thin sheets though a mechanical process and is edible.” Of course, the expression 24-karat is symbolic, not actual.
But don’t many millennials also work out at the gym and eschew dining on cheeseburger, fries, and cheesecake? Judge says, “We’re trying to give our guests an indulgent experience.”