Brittany DeLoach is the new director of beverage operations for Hard Rock International, which just relocated from Orlando, FL, to Hollywood, FL. Cheers recently caught up with her to see how the gig was going so far.
Cheers: When did you start at Hard Rock International, and where did you work previously?
Brittany DeLoach: I joined Hard Rock International as director of beverage operations in October 2017. Prior to overseeing Hard Rock’s beverage program, I worked for 13 years in a variety of beverage positions at Bloomin’ Brands restaurants.
CH: What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?
BD: My first job was a bartending position at a high-volume execution restaurant in Jacksonville Beach, FL. As a bartender, I became accustomed to everything that goes on behind the scenes to successfully operate a restaurant and bar. It was from there that I truly began to develop an appreciation for the beverage industry.
CH: Hard Rock operates 180 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos in 75 countries. Do the beverage selections or preferences vary much by region and/or country?
BD: The core of Hard Rock’s award-winning drink menu is consistent across all locations. As Hard Rock continues to evolve, we are exploring ways to differentiate our menu geographically, while still offering the signature drinks and cocktails that consumers love.
CH: Do most guests expect to see something different on the drink menu at the hotel/casino locations, or do they look for their familiar favorites?
BD: My area of focus is creating new, unique, limited-time-offer cocktails and elevating our signature drink offerings at Hard Rock Cafe locations. I’ve found that guests are open to exploring new LTOs, but they also have a strong appreciation for signature favorites like our Hurricanes or Mojitos—who can say no to rum?!
CH: You held Hard Rock’s fifth annual global BARocker Championship in February. What surprised you most out the bartending competition’s final judging and contenders?
BD: It was great to see the passion that Hard Rock’s bartenders have for their craft and seeing their individual energy shine through in the competition. My favorite part of the BARocker Championship was witnessing the comradery and togetherness that our bartenders from all over the world displayed.
CH: What do you have planned for the beverage program at Hard Rock—any new initiatives or cocktails you could share?
BD: We just concluded our New Year, New Fresh Flavors Beverage Spotlight, which featured fresh, authentic ingredients in handcrafted cocktails to kick off 2018. Hard Rock guests should expect to see continued innovations throughout the year with a focus on new flavors, upgraded presentation and subtle twists on our classic and signature cocktails.
CH: What’s currently your favorite cocktail at Hard Rock?
BD: My favorite has always been the Hurricane—it’s iconic to Hard Rock and perfect any time of year. The Hurricane has a great balance between fruit and spirit that all mix together in perfect harmony. There’s also something so inviting about the vibrant color of the drink when served in the souvenir glass—it’s highly photogenic!
Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers magazine. Reach her at email@example.com.