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    Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s ask Twitch community to help build new menu item

    • Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s teamed with Twitch on a series of sponsored livestreams around a new menu item, according to a press release.
    • The CKE Restaurants brands polled social media followers over the past several weeks about their favorite ingredients. The findings laid the groundwork for a Culinary Showdown livestream on Aug. 22 where Twitch partner Storymodebae and CKE Chef Owen Klein will devise limited-run menu items based on the results.
    • Following that event, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are supporting weekly livestreams from other creators who will taste-test the creations and ask viewers to vote on their favorites. A final stream on Oct. 24 with Storymodebae asks Twitch chat to decode clues that uncover the winning offering, which will be sold in two select markets.

    Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are adding a layer of interactivity to the crowd-sourced meal concept with help from Twitch. The sister restaurants worked with Twitch’s Brand Partnership Studio to map out a sponsored livestream series around “Create Your Happy,” which ropes in creators including Storymodebae, DaydreamerDan and DataDave. While the campaign isn’t explicitly gaming-themed, many of those partners focus on streaming video games, indicating the types of viewers Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s want to reach.

    The CKE Restaurants marketers took a multiphased approach to the effort, starting with social media polls that gathered insights about their followers’ favorite ingredients. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are using those takeaways, as well as built-in Twitch features like the live chat, to get diners involved in designing a custom, limited-run menu item.

    Quick service restaurants (QSRs) have frequently factored fan-made “menu hacks” into their marketing, and the “Create Your Happy” campaign aligns with a similar idea. Several recent Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s promotions have shaken up the menu with help from outside partners.

    A tie-up with Universal Pictures around the summer’s release of “Jurassic World Dominion” showcased several dino-themed meals, including a plant-based Beyond Wraptor Burger. Last year, the CKE groups linked with Adult Swim on meals inspired by the late-night programming block’s classic shows. CKE in May announced a major investment in digital transformation that included a revamped rewards program available through the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s apps.

    Twitch continues to be a draw for QSRs that view gaming and livestreaming as important channels to engage young audiences in the Gen Z and Gen Alpha cohorts. Wendy’s has a dedicated Twitch page with over 112,000 followers. Denny’s earlier this month partnered with Complexity Gaming, the sister esports team of the Dallas Cowboys, on Twitch streams focused on diversity and inclusion.

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