Adaptation: Ritz-Carlton and Johnny Rockets’ Gen Y Revamping Strategies

Johnny Rockets Burger Factory

In the latest installment of Adaptation, our blog series highlighting how retail’s most established brands are evolving to stay relevant, we visit The Ritz-Carlton and Johnny Rockets. Disparate brands, yes, but they share a common goal: to win over the next generation of customers.

For 32-year-old luxury hotel brand Ritz-Carlton, the focus is on modernizing every aspect of its business in order to appeal to Gen Y, its new target market. According to Marketing Week, the company is implementing changes down the line, rolling out a new, bolder logo, replacing traditional dining experiences with trendy on-site restaurants, changing its property design so each one integrates with the cities’ local influences, and generally evolving to serve guests in a more informal way. The hope is to stay relevant even as new players in the travel space gain significant traction. Marketing Week reports that in the last five years, Airbnb saw an astounding 353 percent growth in the number of summer guests it served.


Also “informalizing” its approach, albeit less dramatically, is Johnny Rockets. In an attempt to keep up in a market penetrated by “better-burger” chains like Five Guys and Shake Shack, QSR Magazine says the chain is testing a new concept called Johnny’s Burger Factory, which is much closer to fast food than its original, fifties-themed diner. Johnny’s Burger Factory ticks several items off the Millennials preference list: burgers (made from never-frozen beef) are highly customizable, touch-screen kiosks update the ordering process and craft beer is on the menu. The company says it plans to open 50 locations this year, although it’s unclear whether those will be Burger Factory or Johnny Rockets concepts. Either way, executives are promising it to be ‘much more Millennial-friendly.’

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