The Carl's Jr. and Hardee's QSR chains have launched a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at the restaurants' locations across the U.S.
The Happy Star Rewards app, available for iPhone and Android smartphones, is the first within the fast-food industry to combine location-based check-in technology and rewards, according to parent CKE Restaurants, Inc.
In addition to enabling digital tracking of customer visits, the new app offers guaranteed rewards, a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus and nutritional information.
"We're dragging the antiquated punch-card type of loyalty programs into the 21st century," comments Carl's Jr./Hardee's EVP, marketing, Brad Haley.
The Happy Star Rewards app can be used to cross-post users' location check-ins on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
It also integrates with the chains' existing digital communities, offering the same look and feel as the brands' Facebook pages and streaming YouTube videos, and provides a real-time content feed from Facebook and Twitter streams.
The app builds on CKE Restaurants' community approach to social media, which has driven their combined Facebook fans to 1 million, notes Glenn Cole, chief creative officer at 72andSunny, CKE's digital agency of record and creator of the app. "Whether a user is on their smartphone or sitting at their home computer, their interaction with the Carl's Jr. or Hardee's brand remains accessible wherever and whenever they want."
Users who download the rewards app from the iTunes App Store or Android Market and check in at any of the chains' locations begin earning awards immediately. The first check-in and every subsequent fourth check-in earns the user a spin on "The Wheel of Awesome," the rewards app already present on both chains' Facebook pages, for a chance to win discounted and free menu items, branded gift cards, prizes and merchandise from participating partners. (Current partner prizes include Sony electronics and movie tickets to the upcoming film "The Green Hornet.")
Fans can transfer coupons from the prize wheel app on Facebook directly to their mobile phones in order to redeem.
Users who check in but have not yet earned a wheel spin can receive a coupon for a currently featured item. They may opt either to save the coupon for seven days or redeem it immediately (within 30 minutes) in-store or at a drive-through. Once redeemed, users can share the experience with friends by posting on Facebook and Twitter.
Reward offers increase in value with frequency of use/check-ins. For non-coupon prizes, users are prompted to enter additional information in order to set up prize delivery.
Check-ins are limited to three per day and are also limited to one per daypart (breakfast, 5:30 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and dinner/late-night, 5 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.).