Carl's Jr. Serves Up Mobile Rewards

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Source: Robert Bahn via Flickr Creative Commons
Source: Robert Bahn via Flickr Creative Commons

Carl's Jr. is renowned for its charbroiled burgers. But with items like the Six Dollar Burgers gracing its menu, the burger restaurant chain isn't exactly known for having fast food prices. But Steve Anthony, owner of nearly 40 Carl's Jr. locations throughout Oklahoma and Texas, knew that if he could get people to try Carl's Jr.'s burgers once, he keep them coming back for more. He also wanted to reward current customers for their loyalty. To drive store traffic and reward customers for repeat business, Anthony teamed up with mobile marketing solutions provider Tetherball, LLC and launched a mobile rewards program in 2010. 

The SMS-based Super Star Rewards mobile program sends customers four to five messages a month containing weekly deals for specific menu items. Customers can opt into the program by texting a code featured on customers receipts and drive-through screens. But Carl's Jr. has updated the program since its 2010 debut. In 2012, Carl's Jr. began asking customers to provider their zip codes, which allowed Tetherball to track membership per restaurant and send location specific messages. That year, Tetherball also integrated with Carl's Jr. point of sales (POS) system, XPIENT Solutions, through the use of restaurant reporting software MIRUS Restaurant Solutions. Tetherball then used its own online reporting software, Mobiquitous, to track daily redemptions and ROI. Carl's Jr. promotes the program through in-store signage and receipts.

Matthew Lesher, COO of Tetherball, acknowledges that a lack of uniformity among POS systems can create challenges for marketers. Hence, he encourages companies to partner with vendors who have experience in POS system integration and who can dedicate the time and resources to make it a seamless experience.   

“The key to POS integration is to find the right partners who have experience with integrations,” he says,

Anthony says that he was attracted to the high open and engagement rates experienced with mobile compared to other forms of marketing. In addition, he says texting allowed Carl's Jr. to communicate with its customers in a very direct and personal way.

“When we send a message, we are almost assured that the consumer will read it. You can't get that with other forms of marketing,” he says. “We also liked that texting worked on all mobile phones, not just smart phones.”

The mobile rewards program continues to deliver successful results since its initial 2010 introduction. For example, a promotion for a Western Bacon Cheeseburger combination sent April 16, 2013 experienced an 18% redemption rate and a 19:01 ROI. In addition, a $6 Burger combination deal sent on May 14, 2013 achieved a 19% redemption rate and a 14:01 ROI. Anthony adds that he expects the membership base to double within the next 12 to 24 months. And although Lesher declined to share the total number of people enrolled in the program, he says membership “continues to grow steadily.”

In terms of future program program updates, Anthony says he would like to invest in geo-location.

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