CKE Restaurants, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, launched its Happy Star Rewards loyalty program yesterday. Happy Star Rewards is a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations across the U.S. The application, available for iPhone and Android smart phones, combines location-based check-in technology with rewards, making it the first of its kind for the quick-service industry.
“In a nutshell, what we’re doing is dragging the antiquated punch-card type of loyalty programs into the 21st century,” says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. “We are not only offering a GPS-driven check-in app to keep track of customer visits digitally, but we are offering guaranteed rewards, a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus, and nutritional information.”
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. 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 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 include Sony electronics and movie tickets to the upcoming film The Green Hornet. These partners and prizes will be updated throughout the year. When a user checks in but has not earned a wheel spin, they can receive a coupon for a 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 app, the higher value offers they will be able to receive on The Wheel of Awesome.
After a user has received a coupon, he has the option to save the coupon for seven days, or redeem the coupon immediately either in-store or at the drive thru. If the user selects the “redeem” button, he has 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 noncoupon prizes, the user is 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.
“The app builds on CKE Restaurant’s community approach to social media,” says Glenn Cole, chief creative officer at 72andSunny, CKE’s digital agency of record and the creator of the app. “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.”