Forget the diet. Burger chains Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are hoping to lure customers with their unabashedly calorie-filled burgers, including...
Forget the diet. Burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are hoping to lure customers with their unabashedly calorie-filled burgers, including ones slathered in chili.
Depending on their location, customers of one chain may have never set foot inside the other. But the brands are nearly identical, featuring similar menus and the same smiling-star logo. Both are units of CKE Restaurants (CKR).
Carl’s Jr. began in 1941 with a hot-dog cart in Los Angeles. Its restaurants are now mostly in the West, and its premium burgers are called “Six Dollar Burgers,” which range in price from $3.99 to $4.99.
Hardee’s, meanwhile, opened in 1960, and CKE Restaurants acquired it in 1997. Its locations are now mostly in the Midwest and Southeast, and its premium burgers are called “Thickburgers.”
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Those burgers are what help separate Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s from the crowd, says Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Howard Penney, who calls them “indulgent.” He says the stock is trading at a discount to its competitors, based on earnings before interest, taxes and debt payments, and he rates the stock “outperform.”
Like other restaurants, CKE has recently been hit by higher meat and grain prices, all while trying to entice an increasingly financially strapped customer.
Unlike many competitors, though, CKE is accelerating its restaurant openings, Penney says. Such growth will likely mean lower returns for the company, as its margins are already under pressure, he says.