Harvey’s and Bauer ‘reach out’ in a very Canadian way

The QSR attaches payment terminals to hockey sticks to make drive-thrus safer, while also donating proceeds to food banks.

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Harvey’s is reaching out to its customers, literally, as it rigged up a payment solution attached to hockey sticks to maintain physical distancing at its drive-thrus and help a key CSR partner.

A portion of the proceeds of all drive-thru sales at Harvey’s restaurants will also be donated to Food Banks Canada. Chelsea Kellock, senior director of marketing at Harvey’s, says that since it is in the food business, helping food banks deal with a surge in demand is a natural fit for its CSR initiatives.

Like most QSRs, Harvey’s has closed its dining rooms, offering orders only through delivery or drive-thru. But the drive-thru payment process still involved lots of interaction between staff and customers, so the brand “wanted to find a solution to physical distancing challenges.” Kellock says it was a franchisee that first tested out a pole, and the gambit evolved into a regional manager trying out a Bauer hockey stick. Harvey’s then connected with the hockey equipment brand, which then donated sticks to all of the QSR’s drive-thrus.

To promote the initiative, Kellock says Harvey’s is relying entirely on organic social, working with PR agency Agnostic, with Bauer using its own channels to spread the word as well. The jerry-rigged hockey stick has since caught the attention of NHL stars like Wayne Gretzky and Tie Domi on Twitter. Kellock says the organic approach works because, right now, Canadians are looking for good news specifically related to how to support one another during the pandemic.

Recipe Unlimited has also reached out to those in need during the pandemic by giving all frontline workers 50% off any Harvey’s or Swiss Chalet order for themselves and their families, an idea inspired by a franchisee in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. For its part, Bauer has re-tooled its production facilities in upstate New York and Quebec to make face shields for frontline health care workers.

Kellock says, prior to the pandemic, Harvey’s and AOR Giants and Gentlemen were planning on efforts promoting a limited time return of its stuffed cheeseburger for mid-April, while also continuing its work on brand building that leaned into its Canadian roots and customization offerings – the “Canadian” element making the hockey stick idea a good fit. Harvey’s had also planned short-term activations to promote its veggie burger offerings. Kellock says she is “excited” to get back to planned work with agency Giants and Gentlemen, and that the brand corresponds regularly with them, swapping insights and sales data.

Kellock adds that the QSR is working with all suppliers to meet customer demands. Notably, the order mix hasn’t changed much during the crisis, with the QSR’s Angus burger overwhelmingly being the most popular item and veggie and plant-based offerings being a small part of the mix.