We’ve got the low down on the man behind some of the biggest brands and more in South Africa, yes this morning, we’re chatting with Marco Picone! We’ll let him do the talking but if you want to know more find all his social links below!
GoTrendSA: Marco, thank you so much for joining us on GoTrendSA, for everyone who doesn’t know you, introduce yourself!
Marco: My Name is Marco Picone & I am part of Soft Coffee Holdings, which is the holding company for Hard Rock Cafe Johannesburg, the CAPPELLO franchise, Bogart Man clothing and Caffé Da Pino coffee roasters and distribution. I specialise in active marketing and communications, which in my industry is a fancy way of saying when something needs to be done within our companies, I’m ether the one doing it or planning out how someone else will do it for me.
GoTrendSA: So, we know you’re involved at the one of the most amazing restaurants and tourist attractions in Gauteng, HardRock Cafe, how did it all start?
Marco: Our Company Soft Coffee Holdings was approached by Hard Rock International some time ago as advisors relating to the Hard Rock brand entering the country. With Soft Coffee Holdings already owning the national CAPPELLO franchise, with our vast experience in the Food, Beverage and Entertainment industry they felt we were the right group to be at the forefront of ensuring the brands long term success in South Africa. Not long afterward Soft Coffee Holdings acquired the franchise rights to Hard Rock Cafe in south African and the rest is history.
GoTrendSA: Being such an established international brand, how do you think the Johannesburg café brings a difference compared to the others?
Marco: Every Hard Rock Cafe around the world is unique in its own way, Hard Rock Cafe Johannesburg is no exception. What makes us the same as the rest of the Cafes around the word, is that we encourage our managers, staff and associates to live by the principles of “Love All, Serve All” & “Take time to be kind.” What makes us different is our passion for the industry we are in and how we are constantly raising the bar by of giving our fans a world class experience regardless of the time of day or day in the week. There is ALWAYS something going on at Hard Rock Cafe Johannesburg, we don’t wait for occasions to celebrate… we create them. Essentially that makes us stand out both internationally and locally.
GoTrendSA: We know that HardRock is definitely an “it” place, how has the reception been from locals in the area?
Marco: When it comes to an international brand like Hard Rock Cafe, meeting the local consumers’ expectations is always a massive endeavor, and with Joburg being the multicultural melting pot it is, it only made pleasing everyone that much more of a challenge. That said we constantly are constantly innovating and finding new ways to tailor the brand to the local market and thankfully we have managed to offer something to everyone. Whether it’s our Local Legendary Burger, Rock Shows, Local Hip Hop Shows, Comedy Nights, Kids program or our contingent of local and international staff we have something for everyone, which is something that people acknowledge and appreciate.
GoTrendSA: Marco, besides HardRock, where else do you like to chill out in Joburg?
Marco: Im a bit of a creature of habit so my top spots are pretty set out; Food: Life Grand Café, CRAFT Parkhurst, Hudsons Burger Joint in Parkhurst. Drinks: Rocket Parkhurst Cocoon in Sandton Nightlife: The VIP Room & Taboo.
GoTrendSA: Okay, we just have to ask this! You’re favourite meal off the HardRock menu?
Marco: It may sound like a bit of marketing ploy, but… any burger off the menu, they’re all great but if I had to pick one it would be the Fiesta Burger.
GoTrendSA: HardRock have just launched a pin that aids the Nelson Mandela children’s hospital, tell us more!
Marco: We formed a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital over a year ago
and they have become our one designated charity partner. We’ve done various launches, events and campaigns to assist in raising funds that will go towards the building and running of the hospital. The newly launched limited edition NMCH & HRC pin can be purchased in the Johannesburg Cafe or from the Hard Rock Online store (HERE) All proceeds from the pin will go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. Furthermore Hard Rock International have committed to match every rand raised during this campaign.
GoTrendSA: We love that HardRock is so focused on helping out the community, how has HardRock ensured that they have an equal balance with philanthropic work?
Marco: We first and foremost need to run a successful business and this is something we work very hard at every single day, thereafter we do what we can, where we can, with whatever resources we have at our disposal. Early on we made the conscious decision to designate on single charity to make a large impact on, rather than choose a variety of charities where we might not be able to see any solid long term impact. It’s not an easy decision to make, however we are privileged to be able to contribute and uphold the philanthropic element that is so important to the Hard Rock brand.
GoTrendSA: If we want to see all the excitement of your life and all the HardRock epic-ness, where can we find you online?