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Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s mobile loyalty program to drive in-store traffic

December 28, 2010

The Happy Star app lets you check-in

The Happy Star app lets you check-in

CKE Restaurants Inc.’s Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants are driving consumers in-store via Happy Star Rewards, a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at the fast-food chains’ locations across the United States.

The application, available for iPhone and Android smartphones, combines location-based check-in technology with rewards. Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. claim the application is the first of its kind for the fast-food industry.

“The app was created as part of our ongoing social media strategy to meet our customers in their preferred platforms,” said Jenna Petroff, public relations and social media manager at Hardee’s Food Systems Inc. “We launched The Wheel of Awesome loyalty application first on Facebook.

“Both the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Twitter streams regularly tweet contests and challenges and reward our Foursquare mayors to provide additional incentives,” she said. “And, while we’ll continue our efforts with loyalty programs on all of these platforms, we’re also looking to the future of marketing and attempting to reward as many of our loyal customers as we can.

“Happy Star Rewards is an extension of our social media program, but also simply a new and easier loyalty card, one that you don’t have to carry on a key chain or worry about getting lost. Granted, since it’s from us, of course it’s going to be bigger than just a simple rewards card.”

The application is not just a GPS-driven check-in app to keep track of customer visits digitally. It also offers guaranteed rewards, a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus and nutritional information.

The first check-in and every subsequent fourth check-in earns the user a spin on The Wheel of Awesome, a unique Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s rewards application already present on both brands’ Facebook pages.

Once the wheel has been activated, users spin it with their finger for a chance to win discounted and free menu items, branded gift cards, prizes and merchandise from participating partners.

Partner prizes currently include Sony electronics and movie tickets to the upcoming film The Green Hornet. These partners and prizes will be updated throughout the year.

“In addition to the over 25 different food deals we’re able to offer over both the breakfast and lunch/dinner dayparts, guests can win some major prizes from rotating partners like Sony electronics including newly released DVDs, Blu-Ray Players,” Ms. Petroff said. “These partners and prizes will be updated throughout the year. We’ve also integrated a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus, nutritional information and more. 

“It’s a robust app intended to provide a dynamic customer experience beyond a simple coupon offer or snazzy badge,” she said.

When a user checks in but has not earned a wheel spin, they can receive a coupon for a currently featured item, such as $1 off Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders. Reward offers increase in value with the frequency of use. The more a user checks in using the application, the higher value offers they will be able to receive on The Wheel of Awesome.

After users receive a coupon, they have the option to save it for seven days, or redeem immediately either in-store or at the drive-thru.

If the user selects the “redeem” button, they have 30 minutes to present the coupon displayed on the screen to a cashier.

After presenting the coupon, users press “done” to complete the process. Then they have the option to share the experience with friends by posting on Facebook and Twitter.

For non-coupon prizes, the user is prompted to enter additional information in order to set up delivery of the prize.

Additionally, fans now have the option to transfer coupons from The Wheel of Awesome app on Facebook directly to their mobile phone to redeem.

72andSunny created the application for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. The company is CKE’s agency of record.

 “Part of our ongoing strategy has been to meet our customers where they are,” Ms. Petroff said. “That’s why we’ve been working with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare from the beginning from the application’s inception to ensure integration and promote sharing since our customers were already using those platforms.

“But, increasingly, even within those platforms, users are accessing them via their smartphones,” she said. “So, naturally, mobile made sense as the next evolution in our program.

“Ultimately, for us, a mobile rewards program offering coupons and high-end prizes will steadily increase stores traffic, redemption rates and most of all, sales. Mobile is where our customers are now and where they are going to be.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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