On his first day in the fast-food business, July 17, 1941, Carl N. Karcher took in $14.75. Last year, his namesake CKE Restaurants, Inc. earned revenues of more than $1.3 billion. The story of CKE Restaurants, and its flagship Carl's Jr. restaurant chain, is the quintessential American success story. What began as one man's entrepreneurial venture in 1941 has evolved into one of the most powerful entities in the quick-service restaurant industry.
It began in Los Angeles when an Ohio farmer's son named Carl Karcher was rising before the sun each day to deliver baked goods. Seeing how well business was doing at one of his stops - a hot dog cart at the corner of Florence and Central - Carl and his wife, Margaret, made a leap of faith and borrowed $311 on their Plymouth automobile and added $15 in savings to purchase the business. From their newly purchased cart, they sold hot dogs, chili dogs and tamales for a dime, and soda for a nickel.
70th Anniversary Highlights
To celebrate the long and successful history, Carl's Jr. is rewarding customers and getting fans involved through a variety of social media channels. Guests who sign up to receive email offers from Carl's Jr. (http://www.carlsjr.com/email_signup) by July 14 will receive an email with a printable coupon for a 70-cent Famous Star, redeemable one day only, Sunday, July 17.
"Carl's Jr. has a rich history, loyal fans and an innovative spirit," said Andrew F. Puzder, CEO for CKE Restaurants. "We're proud to take a look back at our history and bring it to life in a modern way that gets fans involved in the celebration. We're asking fans to share their stories and photos showing their favorite Carl's Jr. memories."
Online, fans can take a nostalgic tour on Carl's Jr. social media sites. A 70th anniversary video can be viewed on the Carl's Jr. YouTube channel, while vintage photos and memorabilia will be featured on the brand's Facebook (www.facebook.com/carlsjr) and Flickr pages (www.flickr.com/carlsjr). Fans are encouraged to post their photos, videos and fond memories of Carl's Jr. as well. Followers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/carlsjr) can win random giveaways including commemorative 70th Anniversary T-shirts or free food items. Commemorative T-shirts, featuring the brand's iconic Happy Starr mascot through the years, are also available on The Wheel of AwesomeT Facebook app.
A 70th Anniversary party will be held Friday, July 15, on the corner of Florence and Central in Los Angeles, the site of Carl Karcher's first hot dog cart. The Carl's Jr. food truck, the Star Diner, will be on hand serving chili dogs, just as Karcher did on the same site 70 years ago. The celebration, to be held at 1020 E. Florence Ave, is open to the public and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, members of the executive team, city officials and the Karcher family will be in attendance.
An additional celebration will be held on Sunday, July 17, at the site of Carl Karcher's star on the Anaheim/Orange County Walk of Stars from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Anaheim, Calif. Members of the Karcher family, community dignitaries, Carl's Jr. management and staff welcome fans and friends of the brand to help celebrate the 70th anniversary and remember its founder. The Star Diner food truck will once again be on hand serving chili dogs.
About Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr. is celebrating 70 years in the quick-service industry. What began as a lone hot dog cart in Los Angeles, Calif. in 1941 is today a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants, Inc. of Carpinteria, Calif. As of the end of Q1 fiscal 2012, CKE, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,182 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 20 countries, including 1,262 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,909 Hardee'sr restaurants. For more information, or to find a Carl's Jr. near you, go to www.carlsjr.com. Carl's Jr. social media sites include www.facebook.com/carlsjr, www.twitter.com/carlsjr and www.youtube.com/carlsjr.
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