Carl's Jr.Carl N. Karcher and his wife Margaret purchased their first hot dog cart in 1941, and were so successful that that purchased a number of other food stands around Los Angeles during their first few years as business owners. In 1945 the first Carl’s Drive-In Barbeque opened and sold hamburgers and other grilled foods. The mid-fifties saw Karcher opening two new stand alone restaurants named Carl’s Jr. because they were smaller versions of the original drive-in. The company continued to grow by adding new Jr. locations and reached 300 stores by 1981. Hardee’s was acquired in 1997, but the chain currently has over 1000 locations under the Carl’s Jr. brand alone and is the 5th largest chain when counting the Hardee’s restaurants.

Burgers are the backbone of the Carl’s Jr. menu. This includes the original Famous Star that was introduced in the 60s and a variety of unusual burgers like the Single Teriyaki Burger and the Jalapeno Burger. The Big Carl is a classic double patty cheeseburger topped only with special sauce. The chain introduced their gourmet Six Dollar Burger line in the early 2000s to offer the large, quality burger of a casual restaurant at a fast food chain. They also started a new focus on health with low fat turkey burgers earlier this year. Chicken sandwiches, milkshakes and a breakfast menu featuring fresh biscuits and burritos round out the chain’s menu.

Carl's Jr. Big Carl hamburgerCarl’s Jr. restaurants are mostly located in the Southern, Western and Southwestern portions of the United States. At this time the chain is focused mostly on international expansion into Russia, parts of Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia and Canada. The company also owns the Green Burrito chain and operates a number of co-branded locations that combines the menus of both. A number of controversial and successful ad campaigns were run by Carl’s Jr. in the last 5 years.