At a Glance
- Founded: 1945
- Locations: 1,113
- Initial Investment: $ $1,585 - $2,143
- Headquarters: Franklin, TN
- Category: Fast Food Food & Restaurant Health & Personal Care Senior Care
Carl’s Jr. is a well-loved American fast-food restaurant, with locations mostly in the American West and Southwest. Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, Carl’s Jr. is owned by parent group CKE Restaurants, Inc., which also owns Hardee’s fast-food restaurants. Combined with Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. is the Number Five fast-food chain in the United States. In staying with the trend of co-branding among fast-food restaurant chains, Carl’s Jr. has been recently co-branded with Green Burrito, similar to co-branding among Yum! Brands, with KFC and Taco Bell, for example. Carl’s Jr. offers a lengthy menu for a fast-food restaurant, including a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, sides, desserts, beverages and breakfast items.
In 1941, Carl N. Karcher and his wife Margaret took $15 in savings, borrowed another $311 on their car, and bought a hot dog cart in Los Angeles. They grew their business to four carts before opening the first Carl's Drive-In Barbecue in 1945 and adding hamburgers to the menu. The first Carl's Jr. locations-- so-named because they were smaller than the drive-ins-- opened in the 1950's. Today the company has locations throughout the West and Southwest, and is known for menu items such as its Six Dollar Burgers.