In a series of tweets at Amazon starting Monday morning, Carl’s Jr began urging the e-commerce giant to buy it out. Using the hashtag "#AmazonBuyUs," the fast food chain pelted Amazon with tweets steadily throughout the day.
The chain, with some 3,000 U.S. locations (which includes sibling fast food brand Hardees), is in the doldrums, with flatlining same-store sales, according to The Street. Parent CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc. was acquired four years ago by private equity firm Roark Capital Group.
Requests for comment to CKE and Amazon from Retail Dive weren’t immediately returned. A CKE spokesperson told the Street that the Twitter blast is not just tongue in cheek but a serious pitch to the e-commerce giant.
Monday’s Twitter campaign drew some encouraging replies as well as plenty of snark — but no response from Amazon, whose feed was filled instead with its usual flow of marketing and promotions of its merchandise deals, Alexa voice assistant and Amazon Video entertainment.
To be sure, speculation about what company Amazon might acquire next has been wild since its summer acquisition of Whole Foods. Jeff Glueck, CEO of location intelligence company Foursquare, in August fueled that fire with his suggestion that home improvement retailer Lowe’s and department store Nordstrom were both good fits for Amazon, and recent collaborations between Amazon and Kohl's have put that retailer on the list of possible Amazon purchases.
Carl's Jr isn't alone in actively trying to court Amazon, though others have been more subtle. As the Financial Times reported in September, "Bankers report an upsurge in requests from their retail clients asking that they put a call in to see if Amazon would be interested in acquiring them, too."
While pestering a company on Twitter to consider purchasing one of your investments isn’t par for the course for a private equity firm, Roark Capital is probably ready to unload it after holding on to Carl’s Jr for nearly four years. "Private equity wants to be in and out in five to seven years," Suneet Chandvani, head of middle market research at corporate debt intelligence firm Debtwire, told Retail Dive earlier this year. "The goal is after five years, sell it or IPO it. "
Many of Monday's tweets were dedicated to pointing out possible synergies between Amazon and Carl's Jr, including the similarities in the brands' logos' smiles and their tendencies to put things in boxes, along with outlandish "ideas" for products, fulfillment strategies and Amazon Video titles. Plus, the brand threw in some flattery for Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos.
In all seriousness, it's difficult to picture Amazon taking on a regional fast-food chain most recently in the news for poor treatment of its workers, food safety issues and years of tired, highly sexualized advertising more so than for its fare.
Futile though the campaign might be, the fast food company pledged to keep it up going into Tuesday.