How the Habit Burger Celebrated Its 50th Anniversary with a Going Merry Scholarship Competition (Case Study)

We love connecting students with exceptional brands hosting scholarships on our site, including Hewlett Packard, H&M, Dell, Foot Locker, Sam’s Club and many more! One recent great brand that used Going Merry is the Habit Burger Grill, a gourmet burger chain operating in 12 states, with more than 260 restaurants.

Hosting scholarships on our site gives providers access to more than 300,000 excellent student candidates. For example, the Habit Burger Grill received applications from nearly 1,000 students. With so many deserving candidates, it was difficult to pick their 20 winners, but our reviewing team helped them narrow it down to the 100 most qualified applicants first.

Customizing their scholarships 

The Habit Burger Grill wanted to celebrate its 50th anniversary by awarding $50,000 worth of scholarships, to 20 recipients each given $2,500 to support their educational and career goals at any college or university. The company also wanted to split up these awards into two categories: one scholarship for Habit team members (restaurant staff) and one scholarship for the “community” (any high school or college student).

Using Going Merry made this easy. When adding the two scholarships on our platform, we ensured that each scholarship had specific eligibility requirements, and only those students who fit the bill would see (and could then apply for) the scholarship. For example, since graduate students weren’t eligible, they didn’t see the scholarship listed.

To apply, students used Going Merry’s application software, which auto-fills the scholarship forms with information from the students’ profiles. All students needed to do was answer the scholarship-specific additional questions.

Speaking of application questions, Habit Burger wanted to showcase their community-oriented but quirky brand. Luckily, Going Merry’s highly customizable software allowed them to do just that. To apply for the scholarships, students had to submit to Going Merry either a 60-second video or a 250-word essay that explained their career and educational goals, as well as how the scholarship would help them make a positive impact on their community. Applicants also had to submit a “Habit selfie” that showed how much they enjoyed eating at Habit Burger Grill. 

Habit Burger scholarship case study

Tracking progress

As a brand or community foundation, one of the main concerns is ensuring that someone great wins the scholarship. And to ensure that happens, you usually need a large enough number of submissions. 

Luckily, Going Merry helps with that in three ways: 

  1. We have a large student and counselor base, so hosting your scholarship on Going Merry puts it in front of a large audience.
  2. If you have a niche scholarship, we can make sure only those who are eligible see it through our “matching” process. But because we have so many students using Going Merry, your scholarship is likely to still appear before hundreds or thousands of students.
  3. You can track how many submissions there are, in real time. By signing into your personalized scholarship provider account, you can see stats and review applications even while the scholarship is live. This way, you can always increase your marketing or extend your deadline if you want even more applications.

Great data

Hosting the scholarship on our platform gave the Habit Burger Grill access to helpful stats around how many people saw their scholarships, how many applied, and what the demographics of those applicants were. This included the total page views and applications by geography (city/state), gender, and class year; average student academic profile (test scores, GPAs), and common applicant interests, sports and intended careers.

Selecting a winner

Scholarship winners were selected based on the creativity of their response and the strength of their overall educational and community service profile.

But with almost 1,000 talented applicants, selecting 20 winners wasn’t easy. 

“We were so impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of the applicants, making choosing winners very difficult. This is a generation of hard-working, energetic people who have an appetite for making the world a better place, and we are excited to help them with their journey,” said Charlotte Lucich, director of product marketing and brand at The Habit Burger Grill.

Here’s one short essay from worthy winner Michaela Fluck, on her academic and career goals:

“‘They should check her occipital lobe.’ I said those words to my mother as we drove to the hospital to visit my grandmother who had just suffered a stroke. Mom had just explained Nana’s condition. I had been learning about the brain at school. I was 7 years old, in 2nd grade and precocious as they would say. Mom looked at me stunned. She thought for a brief moment. I could tell she was considering her reaction. But she smiled, nodded and said without any irony, “you should mention that to the doctor.” So, when the neurologist came into the room, I confidently approached him and made my suggestion. He looked at me, unamused, unimpressed, and with little emotion, responded, “I DID check the occipital lobe.” I thought to myself that when I was a doctor some day, I would be much more open to suggestion! 

My aspirations for pursuing a medical career started when I watched my grandmother fight for her life. For the next 8 years she battled and as she battled, I observed and when prompted by her therapists, I helped. As I saw her improvements come from her own hard work and the work of those who helped her, I knew that helping people was my passion. I face a daunting future of schooling to reach my goal of becoming a doctor. This scholarship will help ease the financial burden ahead of me and I would be honored to win it.”

And here’s the winner with her Habit selfie (the quirky application requirement!): 

Michaela Fluck, Habit Burger Scholarship Selfie
Michaela Fluck, Habit Burger Selfie

Interested in hosting your scholarship with Going Merry?

Presenting the awards

Scholarship winners (and their counselors) can be alerted automatically using Going Merry’s software. But sometimes our provider partners have other, more creative ideas in mind too.

Habit invited the scholarship winners to their local Burger Grill location, but the company told the students that they were only “finalists.” Then the students were surprised with large printed checks! The winners were THRILLED (and we were too!)

Check out the winning recipients on their special day:

Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Annabelle Fung
Community member Annabelle Fung
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Casie Delaney
Staff member Casie Delaney – Team Mesa, AZ
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Cayla Rodgers
Staff member Cayla Rodgers – Ft. Lauderdale, FL location.
Cayla has been pursuing her accounting degree while working at the Habit.
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Christopher Vargas
Christopher Vargas – Santa Paula, CA.
Christopher wants to create clean energy solutions as an engineer.
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Jimena Aguilar Lozano
Jimena Aguilar Lozano – Castro Valley, CA location.
Jimena wants to help teens in need as a social worker.
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, John Solis
Staff member John Solis – Lodi, CA location.
John thrived as a student and employee with a 4.8 GPA while working at the Habit.
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Kambry Derose
Staff member Kambry Derose – Layton, UT location
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Michaela Fluck
Community member Michaela Fluck – South Jordan, UT location
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Sarah Uhlman
Community member Sarah Uhlman – Lawrenceville location in Lawrence Township, NJ
Habit Burger Scholarship Winner, Tyler Chapleau
Community member Tyler Chapleau – Santa Clarita location in Santa Clarita, CA

Check out our Going Merry scholarship winner features

How you can partner with us to promote your scholarship like the  Habit Burger Grill

If you’re a scholarship provider wanting to promote your award to a large audience, we’d love to work with you! Your scholarship could be presented to students and counselors at 1 in 3 high schools across the US– and change the student winners’ lives by helping fund their college education.

We work with a wide range of companies, including Foot Locker, GoPro, and Grubhub, to host top-quality scholarships.

To get started, select a date and time that works best for you to chat with our team. We’ll give you a call to discuss hosting your scholarship on our platform. We want students to see and apply for your scholarship, so you can find the best students to represent your brand.

Kelly Lamano

Ready to find scholarships that are a match for you?