MarketWatch  Apr 3  Comment 
CKE Restaurants Inc., parent company of the fast-food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is switching marketing gears, admitting it had gotten “a little distracted” and even “a little weird.”
newratings.com  Mar 22  Comment 
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's chains, said it has appointed Jason Marker as its new chief executive officer to replace Andy Puzder, who last month withdrew...
Wall Street Journal  Mar 21  Comment 
CKE Restaurants said Tuesday that Chief Executive Andy Puzder was stepping down.
Benzinga  Feb 16  Comment 
Labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder has become the latest Trump administration casualty. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, withdrew his name from consideration for the position on Wednesday amid criticism over his past employment of an...
Forbes  Feb 15  Comment 
Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants and President Donald Trump's choice to run the Department of Labor, is withdrawing his name from consideration for Labor Secretary.
NPR  Feb 9  Comment 
Andrew Puzder's confirmation hearing for labor secretary has been repeatedly delayed as he worked to meet ethics standards regarding divestiture of his assets.
DailyFinance  Feb 7  Comment 
Filed under: News, Politics, White House WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's choice to lead the Labor Department has admitted to employing an undocumented immigrant as a house cleaner, a revelation that has derailed...
NPR  Jan 26  Comment 
Andrew Puzder runs the empire behind Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. So far, 33 current and ex-employees have alleged wage theft, harassment and discrimination at his company. The industry stands by its man.
Forbes  Jan 26  Comment 
If Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, is confirmed as labor secretary following his hearing, what can U.S. workers expect as he spearheads one of the cornerstones of President Donald Trump’s plan to “make America great again”? Here is an...


CKE Restaurants, through its franchisees, subsidiaries and licensees operates the Carl's Jr, Hardee's, Green Burrito and Red Burrito quick-service restaurants (QSRs). In total, CKE operates 3,052 restaurants in 43 states and 13 countries.[1][2] CKE generated revenue of $1.59 billion in 2007.[3]

With the exception of 16 Green and Red Burrito restaurants, CKE operates in the fast food hamburger segment of the QSR industry. This is a very competitive segment of the business, which CKE occupies with McDonalds, Burger King, and Jack in the Box, among others. The fast food hamburger industry is so competitive because each restaurant offers extremely similar food, and it is hard to differentiate one company from the competition. This leads to price wars in order to attract customers, which hurt the bottom line. Because the industry is so competitive, CKE has tried new ideas to gain an advantage over their competitors, like experimenting with multi-branded restaurants. Recently, CKE has created locations with both a fast-food hamburger restaurant and a Mexican food restaurant (Carl's Jr. is paired with the Green Burrito concept and Hardee's is paired with Red Burrito.[4] The goal of these restaurants is to draw a whole family, who might have different tastes and cravings, to one restaurant. There are still only a few dual-branded CKE restaurants in America, but it is an interesting idea and shows that CKE Restaurants is willing to adapt to a challenging market.

Business Financials

In 2007, sales for CKE Restaurants totaled $1.59 billion and the company generated $104.5 million in income, which translates to year over year growth of 4.6% and 34% respectively.[5] CKE Restaurants breaks down its revenue into two categories: revenue from company-operated restaurants and revenue from franchised and licensed restaurants. Company owned restaurants account for 80% of total sales, and franchises provide the other 20% of revenue.[6] Also, revenue from franchised restaurants is growing slower than revenue from company-owned locations (5% vs. 3.2% in 2006).[7]

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Franchising is an extremely important part of the CKE Restaurants business model. At the moment, the majority of CKE restaurants are franchised or licensed out. As of November 2007, CKE had 986 company owned and operated restaurants and 2066 franchised and licensed locations, for a total of 3,052.[9] This translates to about 32% company owned and 68% franchised. However, the vast majority of revenue still comes from the company owned restaurants ($273 million from company-owned stores versus $78 million for franchised ones).[10] CKE continues to expand their franchisee program, with the number of company-owned locations decreasing 9%, and the number of franchisee locations increasing 10.5% in the last year. [11]

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Trends and Forces

  • Rising Food and Commodity Prices: CKE Restaurants' margins are highly dependent on food prices. In particular, the company is dependent on the price of corn, beef and also oil. Recently, the price of many key inputs has risen and could affect the profitability of the firm in years to come. The price of corn, which is fed to livestock and is also a key input in many processed foods, has doubled in the last two years, due mainly in part to the ethanol boom.[13] Because it now costs more to feed the cattle, the price of beef and chicken, two extremely important inputs for a fast food restaurant, has also risen. In addition, oil prices have risen four-fold since 2001 and the price of gas is also up 40% in the last year alone.[14] Oil is used to produce food, as well as to transport it all over the world. Finally, the price of food has risen due to higher demand in developing countries like China and India.[15]
  • Changes in Diet/Increased Focus on Healthy Eating: CKE Restaurants could be affected by a shift in consumer tastes and eating habits due to new diet, nutrition, or health trends. Carl's Jr. and Hardee's produce a food that is high in fat and sodium, and is not particularly healthy. Exotic diets, like the Atkins diet, have grown in popularity in the last few years, and have made people more aware of what they are eating and what they should be eating to live a healthy life. If people continue to try to live and eat healthy, it could have a material impact on CKE's profitability.
To read a more detailed discussion of consumer health trends and how they affect the fast-food industry, see also Healthier Food Consumption.
  • Health Scares: CKE Restaurants is vulnerable to a range of health scares that have affected other restaurants and the fast food industry in general. The two most well known scares are mad cow disease (scientifically termed bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE) and outbreaks of illness from the bacteria E. coli. BSE is a fatal neurodegenerative disease found in cattle. Reports of BSE transmission to humans via consumption of beef began to appear in 2003, prompting many consumers to avoid beef. In the fall of 2006 an outbreak of E. coli was traced to Taco Bell chains in New Jersey, leading to millions of dollars in losses at that chain.
For a more detailed discussion of health scares and how they impacts the food industry, see also Health scares.


The Quick Service Industry (QSR) is one of the largest components of the over 440 billion dollar restaurant and food service industry, and is one of the most competitive industries in the world.[16] Carl's Jr. and Hardee's most clearly fall under the fast food hamburger category, and competes against multi-national giants McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's. However, both chains also compete against other QSR concepts. Another huge player in this industry is Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC and Taco Bell. In addition, the Red Burrito and Green Burrito restaurants compete in an extremely competitive Mexican segment, with other well know restaurants Chipotle and Baja Fresh, and Jack in the Box's Qdoba, among others.


  1. Quarterly Report Filed 12/07 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000089256907001525/a36402e10vq.htm
  2. “Our Story” http://www.ckr.com/about.html
  3. 2007 Annual Report pg. 20 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000095013407007002/a28747e10vk.htm#110
  4. “Our Brands” http://www.ckr.com/brands.html
  5. CKR 2006 Annual Report pg. 20 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000095013407007002/a28747e10vk.htm
  6. CKR 2006 Annual Report pg. 33 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000095013407007002/a28747e10vk.htm
  7. CKR 2006 Annual Report pg. 20 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000095013407007002/a28747e10vk.htm
  8. 2007 Annual Report pg. 20 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000095013407007002/a28747e10vk.htm#110
  9. Quarterly Report Filed 12/07 pg. 7 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000089256907001525/a36402e10vq.htm
  10. Quarterly Report Filed 12/07 pg. 4 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000089256907001525/a36402e10vq.htm
  11. CKR 2006 Annual Report pg. 41 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000095013407007002/a28747e10vk.htm
  12. Quarterly Report Filed 12/07 pg. 7 http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/919628/000089256907001525/a36402e10vq.htm
  13. CBOT Corn Futures http://www.cbot.com/cbot/pub/page/0,3181,1213,00.html
  14. 'Most Worrisome Consumer Trends' http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2007/11/30/best-and-worst-of-2007-most-worrisome-consumer-trends/
  15. http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/why-rising-food-prices-eating/story.aspx?guid=%7BE2C47792-2693-48BF-8967-26B070F10EBF%7D
  16. National Restaurant Association http://www.nationalrestaurantassociation.com/pressroom/print/index.cfm?ID=900
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