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Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Warn Consumers Not to Fall for the McHype

Aug 18, 2009

Chains Respond to McDonald’s Angus Burger Launch with Facts and The Big Carl


CARPINTERIA, Calif. – August 18, 2009 – Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, the pioneering chains that first brought sit-down restaurant quality burgers to fast-food consumers, have a message for America: Don’t believe the McHype. The McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD) recently launched Angus Third Pounders, its first major burger introduction in eight years. The time frame is rather ironic since it was eight years ago that Carl’s Jr. introduced The Original Six Dollar Burger® - so named because it was comparable in taste and quality to a sit-down restaurant burger costing six dollars or more. Hardee’s rolled out its own line of comparable Thickburgers® in 2003. Both the Six Dollar Burger™ and Thickburger® product lines are made with 100 percent Black Angus Beef. The Six Dollar Burger patty weighs in at about a half pound, the Original Thickburger is one-third pound, and both are charbroiled for that backyard grill taste.


The McDonald’s Corporation launched its Angus offerings earlier this month after two years of regional testing and was even longer in development. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have introduced more than 40 limited-time burgers in the same eight-year window, many of which have become permanent menu items.


“We’re glad being copied is considered the highest form of flattery, since we have been seeing a lot of it lately,” said Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:CKR), parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.  “Fortunately for our guests, our burgers are still better tasting and lower priced than the other guys’. We’ve successfully faced similar attempts to copy Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Burgers and Hardee’s Thickburgers, and we’ve seen how McDonald’s® versions fared against ours in their various test markets. No one has been able to match our taste, quality or price. However, we do want burger lovers everywhere to know the facts and, once they do, we’re certain that they will continue to believe that the first fast-food restaurants they could go to for premium-quality burgers – Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s – are still the best places to go for premium-quality burgers.


“The Original Six Dollar Burger at Carl’s Jr. has 24 percent more meat than McDonald’s Third Pounders, yet costs the same - $3.99,” said Puzder.  “And at Hardee’s, the 100% Black Angus beef Original Thickburger has just as much meat as McDonald’s Angus burger, but costs 60 cents less. Those are the facts and that’s the value of our burgers.”


Carl’s Jr. offers nine varieties of the charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef Six Dollar Burgers that include premium toppings such as Portobello mushrooms, with a patty weighing about a half pound.  Hardee’s also offers a full line of nine charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef Thickburgers, available in one-third to two-third pound sizes.


To ensure consumers have the opportunity to taste this difference, CKE Restaurants will be offering a money-back guarantee that will give customers a refund if they don’t agree that Hardee’s Thickburgers or Carl’s Jr.’s Six Dollar Burgers are better tasting than the McDonald’s Angus burgers. The offer will begin in mid-September and will be supported with advertising.


In addition, since turnabout is fair play, starting tomorrow, Carl’s Jr. locations throughout the Western states will launch the company’s newest product: The Big Carl™.  A counterpunch to McDonald’s iconic burger, the Big Carl has twice the meat as a Big Mac®, twice the cheese and sells for just $2.49 or less in most restaurants. The Big Mac ranges in price, but averages more than $3.


“While McDonald’s is trying to convince people that they can make as good a premium-quality burger as Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s can, we knew we could make a better double burger for less money,” said Puzder.  “The Carl’s Jr. Big Carl costs a lot less than the Big Mac, is charbroiled, and has twice as much meat and cheese. Burger fans should love that.”


An ad campaign supporting The Big Carl will begin airing tomorrow as well. The commercials, created by Mendelsohn Zien Advertising, can be viewed at


The premium burger wars have just begun, and CKE will not let the McDonald’s Corporation’s McHype go unanswered.  Stay tuned to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Twitter ( and and Facebook pages ( and for more details.


About CKE Restaurants Inc.

Headquartered in Carpinteria, Calif., CKE Restaurants, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CKR.” As of the end of its fiscal 2010 first quarter, CKE Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,133 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 14 countries, including 1,205 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,915 Hardee's restaurants. For more information about CKE Restaurants and its brands, visit, or  



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