Hardees, Carl's Jr. Get Mobile App for iPhone and Android

CKE Restaurants, parent company of Hardees and Carl's Jr. fast food chains is the first in its category to offer a loyalty program via a mobile app. Location-based, the application will offer customers the opportunity to win food and prizes for checking in at the closest restaurant to them.

Both iPhone and Android apps are being readied to launch by year's end. The new system will incorporate the traditional card-based loyalty program with game show frenzy. Ad Age reported that Brad Haley, CKE's marketing exec VP said, "Loyalty programs have been around since the dawn of marketing," said Mr. Haley. "But the paper-based or plastic-card loyalty program is becoming somewhat obsolete. We're having an app on your phone that goes with you everywhere rather than a card you don't want to carry around in your wallet."

Pew Research, according to the advertising industry organ, has found that only 4% of adults utilize already existing apps of this kind. Nontheless, Haley of CKE points out the difference in use based on the adult's age. "8% of online adults between 18-29 use location-based services, significantly more than other age groups."

CKE mobile app users will win prizes for using new concept

There are apps on the market that work for multiple brands. CKE opted to create its own in the hope that it wouldn't get lost in the shuffle by standing out as the first in its category.

One of the other features of the app may not appeal to many, including adults who are more concerned about privacy. To take advantage of CKE's new program, users reveal their locations in exchange for free food and prizes, as well as share it with friends through Facebook, Twitter and other networks.

Mr. Haley believes that plastic cards are so 20th century. "Every restaurant you go to wants to give you a card or loyalty program," he said. "But nobody's purses or wallets are big enough. Taking that and converting it to a digital format was a real opportunity"

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