Global Franchise Meets Hard Rock’s Anibal Fernandez | Global Franchise
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Tuesday 21st March, 2023

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Global Franchise Meets Hard Rock’s Anibal Fernandez


Global Franchise Meets Hard Rock’s Anibal Fernandez

Hard Rock International’s VP of Franchise Operations and Development talks about the 1971-launched hamburger franchise which went worldwide

Hard Rock International’s VP of Franchise Operations and Development talks about the 1971-launched hamburger franchise which went worldwide

When did you join Hard Rock International and what positions have you held before that?

I first joined Hard Rock International in 1997, departed briefly in 2000, and returned in 2003. Prior to my current position as VP of Franchise Operations and Development, I held positions as the General Manager of Hard Rock Cafe Madrid/Barcelona and was fortunate enough to serve as the Director of Operations in Hard Rock’s Middle East region and then for the Europe and Africa regions. Right before my current position I also held the AVP position for EMEA.

What does it mean to you to be Hard Rock International’s VP of Franchise Operations and Development?

I’m honored to be part of the Hard Rock International family and represent one of the most recognizable brands in the world. My position offers the opportunity to extend the brand into exciting, new and emerging markets as well as ensure solid and sustainable long-term growth for all franchise cafes.

Describe your role in this position?

As VP of Franchise Operations and Development, I work to maintain operations and the high standards we value in our franchise cafe locations, which span across 75 countries. I’m constantly exploring opportunities through franchise partners and investors to expand the Hard Rock brand into new markets.

What drew you to franchising in the first place?

After many years of working with various company owned cafės, a position became available in the franchise sector. I was drawn to the franchising position as it was a different way for me to showcase my skills and expertise to support and grow Hard Rock International’s franchise business.

Tell me how Hard Rock got started?

Hard Rock Cafe was started by two Americans, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, who were living in London and couldn’t find a delicious American burger in the city. In response, they created their own American-style diner in an old Rolls Royce dealership on June 14, 1971 and called it Hard Rock Cafe. To this day, the original cafe still exists in its pioneer location on Old Park Lane in London.

When did Hard Rock begin franchising and how successful has this been?

The first franchise-owned Hard Rock Cafe opened in 1983, in Tokyo, Japan. Our franchise cafės have steadily grown since then and there are currently more than 120 franchise-owned Hard Rock Cafes worldwide. We are constantly looking for the next city to open in and are working through a very solid five-year growth pipeline.

How have you used a strong brand identity to drive the brand’s success?

Along with our motto, “Love All, Serve All,” we like to say music is the heart of Hard Rock and philanthropy is its soul. These are the key components we use in our day-to-day routines and ground us in any business decisions. Hard Rock’s success is attributed to staying true to these brand pillars and align with partners who share our “Think Global, Act Local” approach.

How important is strong branding to a business like this?

It’s crucial that our all our franchise locations have cohesive branding with the company owned cafes that is appropriate worldwide. With each activation, our creative team produces assets that company owned and franchise cafes can both utilize in-cafe and across digital channels that way branding remains consistent and accurate throughout all of our Hard Rock Cafe locations.

What are the main considerations when building a successful brand?

For us, partner selection is key. We look for the best partners who are willing to put in the work to secure an appropriate site as well as manage and protect the Hard Rock brand in their areas of operation.

What advice would you give to those considering master franchising?

Franchising professionals must be passionate about the brand they represent. They need to demonstrate strong leadership, organization and skills in sales, marketing and operations and everything else will fall into place. When looking to grow a franchise, never underestimate the power of a brand and the impact of a new or emerging market opening.

What would you consider to be essential considerations when planning an overseas expansion?

Several factors need to be taken into consideration when planning any franchise expansion. When exploring growth opportunities overseas, it’s crucial to fully understand the market maturity in the country targeting. Additionally, having an affinity of the brand and significant brand exposure present within that specific area allows for greater positioning in new markets. When expanding its important to dive into the new market with a fresh, vibrant and relevant brand that is flexible in what it offers.

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