When it comes to the fusion of music and food,
Hard Rock Café is possibly one of the best-known
names in the world.
Famed for housing some of the most valuable
music memorabilia on the planet, the Hard
Rock Café is a mecca for musicians and music
With cafes all over the globe, there are many
surprising facts about this restaurant that
you may not know.
So let’s break down the top 10 untold truths
of Hard Rock Café.
The Hard Rock Franchise is Owned by a Native
One of the most surprising facts about the
Hard Rock Café is that the franchise is actually
owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, one
of only three federally recognized Seminole
It was sold to the tribe on December 7th,
2007 for a staggering $965 million.
The sale included the ownership of 124 Hard
Rock Cafes as well as casinos, hotels and
While the majority of the franchise was sold
to the Seminole Tribe, the sale did not include
the purchase of The Hard Rock Hotel or the
Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
In fact, these were sold by a Mr. Peter Morton
to the Morgans Hotel Group the previous year.
As of July 2018, there are over 200 Hard Rock
locations in a total of a staggering 74 different
These locations consist of 185 cafes, 25 hotels,
and 12 casinos.
You can find a Hard Rock location in most
of the biggest cities in the world including
Moscow, London, New York, and so many others.
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The First Hard Rock Memorabilia Contribution
was from Eric Clapton
The first piece of memorabilia to be obtained
by the Hard Rock Café was a guitar owned
and played by rock superstar Eric Clapton.
Any serious guitar enthusiast will undoubtedly
consider the ‘Tears in Heaven’ hit-maker
an absolute legend in the music world.
The musician reportedly wanted to give Isaac
Tigrett, one of the original founders of Hard
Rock Café, a guitar as a gift.
Reportedly, Tigrett responded to Clapton by
saying that he didn’t play guitar.
Clapton then suggested that Tigrett display
the guitar on the wall of the café.
It was this suggestion that started the tradition
of displaying some of the most valuable music
memorabilia in the world on the walls of the
Hard Rock venues.
The First Live Performance at Hard Rock was
by Paul McCartney & Wings
When it comes to the name Hard Rock Café,
the first thing that springs to mind is live
performances by some of the rock world’s
kings and queens.
However, this was not always the case.
During the early days, live performances at
Hard Rock venues were not exactly what the
business was known for.
It wasn’t until 1973 when this changed after
a famous performance by Paul McCartney & Wings.
However, they weren’t actually booked to
play a gig.
Instead, they performed an impromptu set with
the idea of warming up for their tour of the
This performance was a turning point and started
the tradition of some of the most famous acts
in the world playing at Hard Rock venues.
These days, there are hundreds of live shows
a Hard Rock venues all over the world.
This year, for example, you can watch comedy
in the form of Amy Schumer and Friends at
the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida,
or if you are a Christina Aguilera fan you
can watch the Grammy award-winning artist
perform at the very same Hard Rock Event Center.
What started off as an impromptu performance
by Paul McCartney and Wings has certainly
expanded to now include comedy, musicals,
live gigs and more at locations all over the
Hard Rock Café Once Went Vegetarian for a
When thinking about the Hard Rock franchise,
one of the things that spring to mind is a
After all, the founders of the café started
the business with the aim of serving high-quality
However, there was one day when Hard Rock
Café actually went vegetarian for the day.
This was way back on the 26th of June 1995.
Tennis champion Martina Navaratilova hosted
a party at the venue in aid of PETA.
Of course, at a PETA event, the last thing
you want is to be serving is meat, so the
venue decided to provide an all-vegetarian
menu for the day.
As you can imagine, it went back to its traditional
roots the next day, but it is certainly an
But that isn’t the only menu tidbit we have
As with most modern American eateries, the
Hard Rock franchise offers a number of eating
challenges for punters to participate in.
One of the most popular is the Kitchen Sink
Participants have 30 minutes to consume a
Kitchen Sink Burger (which is a 10-ounce beef
patty!) with a side of fries and a fried pickle.
Not when you include the 3lb slice of Kitchen
Sink Cake which consists of seven layers from
brownies to peanut butter crunch, all served
with ice cream on top.
For those of you brave enough to take on the
challenge, you can take part at the Universal
Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Antiques Roadshow Filmed in a London Hard
Antiques Roadshow and Hard Rock Café are
two things that you would never expect to
find in the same sentence.
The British television show is famed for members
of the public bringing their antiques to be
valued, sometimes enabling them to auction
them off for huge sums of money.
The Hard Rock Café in London played host
to the team at Antiques Roadshow, allowing
them to film there.
However, this episode was a little different
as it only featured music memorabilia owned
by members of the public.
There were certainly some real hidden gems
unearthed and some shocking valuations.
One of the biggest shockers was a rare first
cut tape of the world-famous single Do They
Know It’s Christmas?
By Band Aid.
The owner from Islington was stunned to find
out that it could be worth a six-figure sum.
Another member of the public brought along
his signed Roger Daltrey microphone.
He was equally as surprised when he was told
that it could potentially be worth over one
Time to get looking through your music memorabilia
The World-Famous Hard Rock Merchandise Came
The Hard Rock Café logo is recognized all
over the world and is possibly one of the
most famous logos in both the music industry
and the food industry.
The merchandise is one of the biggest revenue
streams from the business.
However, what you may not know is that the
t-shirts with the famous logo actually came
about completely by accident.
During the early years, Hard Rock Café sponsored
a soccer team from London, where the team
members would wear the logo on their strips.
Any extra shirts that were left over were
given away to frequent customers of the London
Soon after, customers would come into the
café and ask for the shirts.
Staff at the London branch decided to set
up a stall selling the merchandise outside
the café, and this is where it all started.
These days, the sale of Hard Rock Café merchandise
makes up 40% of their revenue.
Now, you can find all sorts of Hard Rock memorabilia
both online and in Hard Rock locations all
over the world, from clothing to pins, glassware,
magnets, and even drumsticks, among many other
For a true music fan, this is your perfect
opportunity to start your Hard Rock collection!
Originally Only Waitresses of a Certain Age
When the Hard Rock Café’s first started
appearing all over the world, managers would
only hire a waitress if she was over the age
This is because they wanted to maintain the
image of a typical nighttime American diner
with your typical 30-something waitress bringing
your food and drinks.
Of course, this isn’t the case today.
Not only are there employment laws that would
protect against age discrimination, but it
also no longer fits the brand’s overall
These days, you will find staff members from
all genders, races, and ages working for different
parts of the Hard Rock Café brand.
The most famous waitress to work for the Hard
Rock chain is Rita Gilligan.
The 75-year-old from Galway has served some
of the most famous faces in the world, from
Muhammed Ali to the Beckhams’s and even
royalty in the form of Princesses Beatrice
As you can imagine, Rita certainly has some
interesting stories to tell.
She has worked at the London branch since
Hard Rock Houses Some of the Most Famous Music
Memorabilia in the World
For those who haven’t yet visited a Hard
Rock Café, one of the things that you will
know about the business is that they house
some of the most famous music memorabilia
on the entire planet.
As it stands, they have on display over 80,000
pieces of memorabilia in their cafes all over
Some of the most famous examples are Michael
Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ jacket, a flying
V guitar from Jimi Hendrix, Prince’s famous
ruffle shirt, jackets from Paul McCartney
and John Lennon along with tens of thousands
of other pieces.
There are Hard Rock venues all over the world
these days, so there is something for every
music fan to marvel at, no matter where in
the world they may be.
The value of all of this memorabilia goes
into the hundreds of millions, as you can
Musicians from all genres from metal to jazz,
hip-hop to rock and everything in between
have donated items to different Hard Rock
Traditional memorabilia such as signed items
of clothing, vinyl, posters, and musical instruments
can all be marveled at.
If you are a music fan, you do not want to
miss the opportunity to see some of these
Hard Rock Burgers Are Out of this World
Although the main attraction to any Hard Rock
Café is undoubtedly the awe-inspiring memorabilia
collection, it is easy to forget about the
food that is served.
However, anyone who has been to a Hard Rock
Café will tell you that their food, particularly
their burgers, are delicious.
The burgers have become so popular that each
café now hosts a Burger World Tour every
During this event, Hard Rock Café will add
different burgers that have been inspired
by cuisine from all over the world to their
menus for a limited time.
For example, they have had a Korean Kimchi
Burger featuring traditional Korean ingredients
along with their mouth-watering beef patty.
Another popular offering was the burger that
drew inspiration from Buenos Aires in Argentina.
These are just two examples of the burgers
that have been featured on the World Burger
Tour, and there are plenty of others to try.
Burgers are not the only thing on the Hard
Rock menu, though.
Typical American offerings such as ribs, wings,
Mac n’ Cheese, nachos and even the classic
ribeye steak – you can taste it all at the
Hard Rock Cafe.
Not only are these cafes a haven for music
fans, but foodies will absolutely love the
mouthwatering dishes on offer too.
The London Hard Rock Café Has Links to Royalty
As you can imagine, thousands of famous faces
have frequented Hard Rock Café’s all over
After all, it was Eric Clapton visiting the
original Hard Rock Café that started off
the music memorabilia tradition.
However, we would never expect the business
to have ties to royalty.
What you may not know is that when Princess
Diana tried on her wedding dress, it was in
what was the vault of Coutts Bank.
This is now the Hard-Rock Vault.
As well as this, it is a known fact that Prince
Harry, Princess Diana’s son, is a huge fan
of the annual Hard Rock festival.
Prince Harry has always been a bit of a wild
child, so the fact that he enjoys festivals
like this comes as no surprise at all!
No reports of Her Majesty being a Hard Rock
fan, but who knows, stranger things have happened!
In all seriousness though, it is a testament
to the popularity of the franchise that so
many famous faces regard Hard Rock as something
that they want to be involved in.
According to a newspaper report, waitress
Rita Gilligan had to tell off Princesses Beatrice
and Eugenie when they were children dining
at the restaurant for being too wild!
As well as its links to actual royalty, Hard
Rock has some of the most famous fans in the
world, from Sir Paul McCartney to the Late
Michael Jackson, The Who, Queen and hundreds
of other stars from the world of rock and
For any true music fan, a trip to one of these
world-famous locations will be a truly memorable
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