Hard Rock Cafe nutcase spends hundreds of thousands travelling to 243 restaurants around the world
A Hard Rock Cafe nutcase has spent more than £30,000 in his quest to visit every one of the themed restaurants in the world.
Kay Kalkbrenner, 28, has made it to 243 of the cafes on five continents in locations as far flung as Kazakhstan and Cancun.
But after years of spending thousands on his obsession, he’s become so fed up of burgers and chips he now doesn’t even order a meal.
In his bid to visit all the restaurants Kay has missed family occasions, paid thousands for new flights and uses all of his annual leave.
Kay said: “I love the Hard Rock Cafes because it gives you a good excuse to travel but the best part is the people.
“The other collectors are all great, friendly and helpful – they make it worth it.”
Kay, from Frankfurt, Germany, is always planning his next trip and is constantly on the lookout for new openings.
He takes up to ten trips a year and a single visit can cost up to £1500. He has just returned from a two week tour round Asia and is currently in Kazakhstan to visit the new restaurant in Almaty.
Kay visited his first cafe aged just eight while in Miami with his parents in 1994 his obsession started in Hong Kong in 1997.
While on holiday his family chanced upon the Hard Rock Café. Inside he noticed a sign for the second restaurant on the island and convinced his parents to take him to the other branch.
During family holidays he visited the London, Florida Key West and Orlando.
And after finishing school he even got a job with an airline so he could see the world’s cafes without blowing his wages monthly wages.
Since then, he’s blown more than £31,000 (€40,000) travelling from his native Germany to Hard Rock Locations where he always buys a key ring.
In one year he went to the USA, Mexico, Japan, and a cruise through the Caribbean clocking up more than 22 cafes.
Even when he can’t take extended periods off work from his job for a travel company he spends every weekend travelling around Europe to tick off the restaurants closer to home.
Kay’s favourite branched aren’t even in the chain’s native United States and include branches in Tenerife, Beirut, Cancun, Seoul and Kuwait!
At his home he has a room dedicated to his mission including a huge wall map with pins to show every restaurant he has visited, thousands of pictures of him, all of the 1500 keyrings he has bought and one giant master spreadsheet so he can keep track of all the places he has been.
But even Kay admits that his friends don’t understand his obsession and have tried to get him to stop
He said: “Most of my friends don’t really understand why I do it and why I spend so much time and money on my hobby.
“I think only other collectors and fans can really understand.
“My family likes my hobby very much – they appreciate that it’s helped me come across so many amazing places in the world.
“I never thought I’ll make it to Colombia, now I have been there twice already.
“I’d never even heard about Guam, Saipan, Kota Kinabalu before. Who knows where the next cafes will open up but I’ll make it my mission to travel there.
“But the food is almost the same everywhere in the world the same and a bit overpriced.
“The decor and memorabilia is nice to see but for me not so important.
“I don’t walk around the cafe and take a look and pictures of all the memorabilia but I know there are people out there doing that as they’re interested in that.
“It’s more a chance to see the world that I’m interested in and a chance to tick another café off my list – I’m a collector at heart!”