SSP America, a division of SSP Group, a leading operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations worldwide, announced today the opening of Hard Rock Cafe at Tampa International Airport. The first Hard Rock Cafe to open in a North American airport, the restaurant’s iconic music memorabilia pieces and immersive dining experience will set an entertaining stage for TPA guests.
“The Hard Rock name really brings that ‘wow’ factor to our Main Terminal,” said Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano. “Having North America’s first airport Hard Rock Cafe puts us on an international map and will draw visitors from all over the world for many years to come.”
The TPA Hard Rock Cafe is operated by SSP America and features authentic memorabilia from new and legendary music icons, including pieces from Prince, Lady Gaga and Les Paul. The new Hard Rock Cafe will also feature a Rock Shop retail store, selling Tampa International Airport Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts, mugs, children’s clothing, pins and other merchandise branded specifically for the new airport location. The cafe celebrated its opening with Hard Rock’s traditional grand opening guitar smash, joined by a DJ and rock ‘n’ roll star impersonators.
“Our exclusive partnership with Florida’s own Hard Rock Cafe has made the opportunity to bring the very first iconic rock and roll restaurant to an airport possible,” said John Clark, Vice President, Business Development of SSP America. “We’re so glad this world-renowned brand has opened at Tampa International Airport because it’s but one indication of our larger commitment to the airport’s vision of remaining a major driver for economic growth in the region.”
“Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of our amazing local Tampa partners Bob Coyne, Ruben Perez, Carlos Alfonso and Drew Weatherford,” Clark said. “At SSP America, we have a passion for the passenger experience, and there is no experience quite like a Hard Rock Cafe. With a vibrant energy, delicious food, custom cocktails and renowned Rock Shop, we’re confident TPA passengers will love Hard Rock Cafe!”
Hard Rock is one of the most globally recognized brands, with cafes and other venues all over the world. The first Hard Rock Cafe opened in London in 1971 – coincidentally the same year the newly constructed Tampa International Airport opened. Guests of Hard Rock can also enjoy authentic, American fare from the brand’s scratch-based menu, as well as a wide-variety of innovative cocktails.
“Hard Rock has been looking forward to opening another cafe after more than five successful years of operating in Tampa, and we could not have asked for a more dynamic and exciting location than the Tampa International Airport,” said Calum MacPherson, Area Vice President of Cafe Operations (North America – East) for Hard Rock International. “We look forward to becoming a must-see destination for both travellers and locals alike as we join this energetic community.”
SSP America and Hard Rock will celebrate the opening with a ceremonial “guitar smash,” where executives and local dignitaries will “smash” defective, non-playable guitars. In return, SSP America and Hard Rock will donate 10 new guitars to the Tampa Chapter of Guitars for Vets, a national organization that supports war Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).