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Hard Rock Cafe
Case Study


With venues in 74 countries, including 178 cafes, 24 hotels, and 10 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized brands. What began with one Eric Clapton guitar quickly grew into the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at Hard Rock locations around the globe. The company is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues, and an award-winning website.

Maintaining consistency can be a challenge across a hotel & casino portfolio that spans 26 locations in 12 countries. Add to that the unique voice, service standards, and experience that a Hard Rock Hotel or Casino delivers, and the execution of brand standards becomes even more critical. This level of quality assurance requires robust, scalable solutions that can grow along with the brand. Hard Rock has the team for this task—in the support center and in the field—with expertise, drive, and creativity. Since 2015, RizePoint has been providing this team with the tools they need to operate efficiently and constantly improve brand compliance results.


The quality assurance standard for Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos includes an evaluation on the implementation and execution of its brand standards— those elements that, anywhere in the world, differentiate the property as “Hard Rock.” HRI had been completing this evaluation through an annual property visit with an extensive executive team from the support center— including operations, human resources, marketing, and reservations— traveling to each location to meet with the property’s on-site executive team. While the meetings were productive, the output generated was minimal when compared to the expense of travel and lodging, in addition to the executives’ time. The tangible result from the on-site evaluation was an Excel spreadsheet with the recorded responses and an annual Brand Compliance Evaluation (BCE) score. The evaluation period was then completed and not revisited until the following year.


Hard Rock International’s quality assurance team knew there was potential to streamline the annual on-site evaluation process by transitioning to a mobile, cloud-based solution. They chose RizePoint because its functionality went beyond operational checklists and enabled franchise-wide brand compliance—in addition to being reliable, user-friendly, and customizable. Kelli Gowan, quality assurance manager, Hard Rock, noted, “The switch from Excel to RizePoint Mobile Auditor alone would bring a level of professionalism and organization to the site visit that was greatly needed.”


With RizePoint, HRI made three major improvements to the evaluation process: First, HRI added a self-audit to the evaluation process. Using Mobile Auditor, property managers now start Q1 with a self-evaluation of their implementation and execution of brand standards. “This has produced several benefits,” Gowan said. “It’s a fantastic way to encourage accountability and catalyzes the conversation between the support center and the field.” Prior to implementing RizePoint, all non-compliant items had to be addressed during the on-site evaluation. With the streamlined self-audit in place, both the property manager and the support center are able to research best practices and possible solutions to any issues in a constructive, progressive manner.

Second, HRI implemented the RizePoint Corrective Action Management (CAM) feature. Gowan noted, “This was a major upgrade, given that the previous spreadsheet-based evaluation process lacked any opportunity for follow-up and improvement. CAM made it possible to transition the evaluation process from a one-time event to a continuous improvement mechanism.” By utilizing CAM, HRI property managers had the tools to organize, prioritize, and address non-compliant items of daily operations.

The final step for Hard Rock’s new continuous improvement process is an on-site audit conducted by the area vice president instead of a four-person executive team. This shift allows the on-site visit from the AVP to focus on facilities and staff interactions, making it a productive step in an ongoing improvement process rather than a stressful ending to the evaluation. This not only saved executive time and money, but created ongoing brand improvement conversations.

“The advantages of Mobile Auditor—using a tablet for inspection forms, with the ability to document via text and images and automatically generate reports—well, the system sells itself. There’s no going back to Excel!” — Kelli Gowan, Quality Assurance Manager for HRI


The new evaluation process produced impressive results within its first year: property evaluation scores increased by more than 5% overall, and several individual properties increased their brand compliance by more than 10%. Beyond BCE improvements, the new evaluation process reduced travel expenses in excess of 85% in the first year. These time and financial savings allow HRI to focus on strategic property visits for training, consultation, or new program implementation—ultimately improving the guest experience.

Hard Rock is committed to continuous improvement. “Going forward, we’re looking to improve our BCE process even further,” said Gowan. “Using advanced reporting functionality, we’ll soon be able to have our evaluations reflect the most up-to-date information possible, with rollup to the property’s overall evaluation score. We’re also excited to be introducing custom calculations that will further improve accuracy in our scoring module and allow flexibility in unique circumstances.”


After selecting RizePoint to improve the evaluation process, HRI identified additional uses to give them added value from the platform:


With the new evaluation process humming along, support center staff quickly identified another way to harness RizePoint—transfer the organization’s Mystery Shop checklist from paper to Mobile Auditor. Many properties began weekly self-audits to ensure rooms and public spaces met all quality standards. This was self-motivated by the property and serves one purpose: to help the team improve their operations. Properties using this tactic increased the Mystery Shop room score by an average of 6%.


In an even bigger undertaking, the HRI development team harnessed the RizePoint system to track new property openings. Room audits for grand openings were transitioned from Excel-based tabulation to Mobile Auditor. In the fast-paced environment of a new hotel opening, the staff is now able to review the rooms, submit the reports immediately, and have items corrected in real-time, without delays for calculations or visits back to the staff opening office.

Reporting solutions have been implemented to allow the project manager to see not just incomplete rooms, but identify trends in items that need attention across the property, as well as quickly view non-compliant items for an individual room. RizePoint technology modernized the HRI room audit process—and with 30+ properties scheduled to open in the next three years, Hard Rock’s opening process is streamlined for success.


RizePoint is the global leader in quality management SaaS solutions. RizePoint software creates a hub of valuable compliance information to align organizational focus on brand protection. Dedicated to helping our customers deliver a positive brand experience, RizePoint conducts millions of audits every year, totaling over 300 million questions answered annually. Considered the industry standard for food service, hospitality, and retail, RizePoint is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.