Emerging TechnologyMobileCarl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Launch Location-Based Rewards App

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Launch Location-Based Rewards App

Fast food chains launch their own location-based mobile rewards app, sidestepping existing services such as FourSquare and Facebook Places.

carlsjrwheelwinimageHaving announced their intentions to do so earlier in the year, fast food restaurants Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have launched a location-based mobile application to reward loyal customers. Parent company CKE Restaurants said the company chose to build its own application, as opposed to partnering with existing location-based providers such as Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places.

The app, dubbed Happy Star Rewards, is now available on the iPhone and Android platforms, and invites users to check in when they dine in either of the restaurants. The first check-in earns the user a spin of “The Wheel of Awesome,” for the chance to win free or discounted food, gift cards, and merchandise from participating partners. Every fourth check-in will earn users subsequent spins of the wheel, and the value of the rewards on offer increases as a user checks in more frequently.

“In a nutshell, what we’re doing is dragging the antiquated punch-card type of loyalty programs into the 21st century,” commented Brad Haley, EVP of marketing for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s in a press release. The app also features a restaurant locator, social media features, streaming videos, and nutritional and menu information, Haley said.

Users who are lucky enough to win a prize on the wheel are given the option to redeem it instantly in the restaurant, or to save it for seven days. They’re also encouraged to share the good news on Facebook and Twitter, potentially extending the visibility of the brand and the rewards program to friends or followers.

“The app builds on CKE Restaurants’ community approach to social media,” commented Glenn Cole, chief creative officer at 72andSunny, CKE’s digital agency of record and the creator of the app. Cole said the brands already have a combined 1 million fans on Facebook, and that the addition of the app enables customers to interact with the brand on the go and in front of their desktops.

CKE says it plans to partner with third-party brands throughout the year to offer non-food prizes. At launch, Sony is offering electronics and movie tickets to upcoming movie “The Green Hornet,” the company said.

Speaking with ClickZ News in November, Rebekah Jefferis, 72andSunny’s director of interactive production, said the agency planned to launch the app with promotional messages on the brands’ Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as using e-mail newsletters, in-store promotion, and its YouTube channel. “It’s an app for our loyalists,” she said.

Jefferis added that CKE also intends to advertise the app via a mobile ad network to attract new users besides just loyal customers.

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