Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are offering “comfort food for grown-ups.” Grilled Cheese Bacon Burgers, launched at Carl’s Jr. in late January, feature the comfort of youthful grilled cheese sandwiches, but with the addition of a charbroiled burger and bacon. This combination of two all-American classics resonated so well with guests in Carl’s Jr. markets that the Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburger is being introduced into sister-chain Hardee’s markets.

“The Grilled Cheese Bacon Burgers evolved from our efforts to make a really good grilled cheese sandwich for our vegetarian customers,” says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing at CKE Restaurants. “Being known for our decadent burgers, we just had to see how it tasted with a charbroiled burger and bacon on it, and the result was really, really yummy. With all the dismal economic news today, it may be that this combination of two classic, all-American comfort foods just seems to hit the spot right now.”

Both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are embarking on a digital campaign to provide even more solace to customers, especially the core fans of “young, hungry guys.” Visitors to the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Facebook pages can visit the new interactive application designed to provide a bit of comfort when they need it the most.

Fans can choose to comfort themselves or a friend when activating “The Comfort Place,” an application that will post comforting messages to the designated Facebook wall for a 24-hour period. Comfort comes in the form of cheesy songs (“Love Sandwich”), words of wisdom and motivational pep talks (“You smell incredible right now. Just incredible.”), audio sound bytes (sounds of bacon sizzling), soothing photos (frolicking kittens), and humorous videos (levitating “Burguru”). Users can also invite friends to gather at their local Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s for a “Comfort Session” where they can take full advantage of their access to exclusive rewards and discounts on the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burgers.

Additionally, the chains also launched a five-week sweepstakes on each brand’s respective Facebook page. Each page will give away two Comfort Packages a week, ending on March 26. The Comfort Package consists of a Happy Star branded Slanket, comfortable slippers, a universal remote, a Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s gift card, and a shiatsu electronic massager.

“The ‘Comfort Place’ Facebook application and sweepstakes are another way we are reaching out to our customers online,” says Brad Rosenberg, manager of digital strategy and marketing at CKE Restaurants. “We don’t want to just broadcast messages. We aim to interact, provide fun, sharable content, and offer our fans exclusive deals and sweepstakes that they won’t find anywhere else.”

Menu Innovations, News, Carl's Jr., Hardee's