Hardee’s connects with mobile device users, offers discounts

Hardee’s connects with mobile device users, offers discounts

ST. LOUIS —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Customers of the 114 participating Hardee’s [3] restaurants have access to digital coupons via their Web-enabled phones or wireless PDAs after downloading free software at www.cellfire.com or surfing the ancillary “Cellfire Express” Web page found at that URL. They show a cashier the code on their mobile-device screen to redeem coupons for Hardee’s Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Monster Biscuit or Large Chili Fries. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

“We’re always interested in trying to gain experience with new technologies,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s. Asked about consumer response to the promotion, which launched Feb. 19, he said: “It is too soon to tell. This is something we’ll probably be testing over a matter of months, not weeks.” —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Jeff Chasney, chief information officer for Hardee’s parent CKE Restaurants Inc. [4] of Carpinteria, Calif., said security aimed at thwarting coupon counterfeiting is likely to become a bigger issue if the quick-service sandwich chain moves beyond the test stage. Sources at San Jose, Calif.-based Cellfire said the company takes multiple steps to prevent such fraud. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Selected branches of the T.G.I. Friday’s [5] casual-dining chain have accepted mobile coupons distributed by Cellfire since mid-2006. Domino’s Pizza [6] outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area began accepting them in early March. That company’s arrangement permits consumers holding the mobile coupons to simply click on a link to have their cell phones dial the nearest Domino’s store to place an order. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

In late 2005, more than 600 Southern California McDonald’s [7] restaurants accepted mobile coupons for a limited time for free McFlurry desserts. Customers could request those discounts via text message. Gamut Industries provided the underlying technology and services for that campaign, as well as another in 2006 for McDonald’s users in Washington and Oregon. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Haley noted that two aspects of mobile coupons were of particular interest to Hardee’s. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

“One is the sales-building potential, and the other is the cost-avoidance piece,” or the elimination of expenses tied to printing and distributing conventional coupons, he said. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Hardee’s found Cellfire’s technology “intriguing,” Haley said, because “it delivers coupons to a group that does not traditionally respond to printed coupons—younger males.” He said the mobile coupons have been promoted using publicity and public relations, such as an in-restaurant event featuring a ketchup-filled dunking tank. Cellfire sources said Hardee’s also is using printed bag stuffers to spread the word. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

“About 63 percent of our consumer base is between 13 and 34 [years old],” said Brent Dusing, chief executive of Cellfire, explaining why restaurant companies—and quick-service chains in particular—might be interested in his company’s technology. He added that it’s less expensive to put a coupon on someone’s cell phone than to deliver a paper enticement to their mailbox. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

The results of initial mobile coupon campaigns, too, might interest some foodservice business owners, Dusing said. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

“We’re seeing redemption rates as high as 10 [percent] to 15 percent, while the industry average paper response is 0.63, or less than 1 percent,” he said. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Another compelling aspect of mobile-coupon distribution, Dusing said, is that it can serve as a platform for customer relationship management activities and generate data for creating or fine-tuning marketing and promotional initiatives. The Cellfire registration process creates a one-to-one link with consumers, who almost always have their cell phones or PDAs with them, and consumer use of the technology to search out, retrieve and redeem mobile coupons creates a data-rich “click stream,” he explained. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

The technology supporting Cellfire’s mobile coupons appears to have “good back-end controls to verify redemptions,” Haley of Hardee’s said. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Dusing added that his company’s security features include “disappearing coupons,” or coupons that are erased from a user’s cell phone by Cellfire’s software after a certain number of uses; coupon expiration dates; graphics and logos that serve as watermarks of sorts; and the data trails that are a natural byproduct of the technology. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

CKE’s Chasney has done a preliminary analysis of possible digital-coupon counterfeiting tactics. He said that even with Cellfire’s security measures in place, additional safeguards likely would be necessary if Hardee’s expanded mobile couponing. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

“Marketing is first performing a proof-of-concept,” said Chasney, who also is CKE’s executive vice president of strategic planning. “Should it appear that cell phone coupons become attractive, we will then address the technology and fraud-prevention aspects.” —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Though Haley declined to discuss the specific costs associated with the two-market test of mobile coupons, he emphasized that the agreement with Cellfire is “pretty much a pay-for-performance” arrangement. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

“We don’t pay for distribution of [digital] coupons. We pay on redemptions,” said Haley, who is also executive vice president of marketing at Carl’s Jr. [8], CKE Restaurants’ other quick-service sandwich chain. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

The Hardee’s mobile-coupon experiment comes on the heels of last year’s cell-phone-based “Burger Slayer” promotion involving both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. And it is running at the same time as a promotion of the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Carl’s and Hardee’s. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich marketing effort features a micro website at www.spicybuffalo.com, where visitors can program a virtual waitress to extend to friends a customized e-mail video invitation to dine together. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.

Mobile coupons being accepted at some T.G.I. Friday’s units offer users a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrées or $5 off on any food purchase of $15 or more. The mobile coupons being accepted at Bay Area Domino’s Pizza stores feature such offers as “The Perfect Meal,” or a medium, two-topping pizza, a 2-liter bottle of soda and a bread item, for $20.99, and a small, three-topping pizza and 10 Buffalo Wings for $15.99. —Looking to grow sales and cut costs, 1,945-unit Hardee’s, based here, is offering buy-one-get-one-free deals to consumers in Indianapolis and St. Louis who use the Cellfire Inc. mobile-coupon service for cell phones and wireless-computing devices.