As restaurant chains increasingly add mobile application programs, online loyalty rewards and location-based marketing to their repertoire, CKE Restaurants has figured out a way to wrap all of these components into one package.
The parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s launched its Happy Star Rewards, a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at the restaurants’ locations across the United States. The free application is available for both iPhone and Android smart phones, and combines location-based, check-in technology with rewards. It is the first application of its kind in the quick-service industry.
To use the app, a guest simply visits a Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s restaurant and checks in. The first check-in and every subsequent fourth check-in earns the user a spin on "The Wheel of Awesome," a Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s rewards application already available on both brands’ Facebook pages.
The spin yields a coupon for a currently-featured menu item and reward offers increase in value with the frequency of use. Fans also have the option of transferring coupons from The Wheel of Awesome app on Facebook directly to their mobile phone to redeem.
After the user receives a coupon, they can save it for seven days or redeem it immediately. If the customer chooses to redeem the coupon, they have 30 minutes to present the coupon to a cashier. For non-coupon prizes, users are prompted to enter additional information in order to set up delivery of the prize. Check-ins are limited to a maximum of three per day and are also limited to one per daypart.
“It’s a robust app intended to provide a dynamic customer experience beyond a simple coupon or snazzy badge,” said Jenna Petroff, public relations and social media manager, Hardee’s Food Systems Inc.
In addition to the more than 25 different food deals that coincide with the launch, the company is also giving away prizes such as newly released DVDs and Blu-Ray Players from CKE Restaurants’ partner Sony electronics. Prizes will be updated throughout the year.
This new application also entails a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus, nutritional information and more.
“In a nutshell, what we’re doing is dragging the antiquated punch-card type of loyalty programs into the 21st century,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Users who download the app, available on the iTunes App Store or Android Market, can visit any Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s location and check in to start earning rewards immediately.
CKE’s digital agency of record, Los Angeles-based 72andSunny, created the app, working with the company to conceive, develop and execute the launch completely in-house. This allows for customized tailoring as needed moving forward.
“The app builds on CKE Restaurant’s community approach to social media,” said Glenn Cole, chief creative officer at 72andSunny. “We’ve seen great growth in the community, and now boast a combined 1 million fans on Facebook. Whether a user is on their smart phone, or sitting at their home computer, their interaction with the Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s brand remains accessible wherever and whenever they want.”
This new app has the potential to uniquely position Carl's Jr. and Hardees within the QSR industry, which remains somewhat reluctant to adopt high-incentive loyalty programs. Pew Research has reported finding only 4 percent of adults use existing apps of this kind.
The Happy Star Rewards application can be downloaded online.