Hardee’s in the UK - Do They Franchise?

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hardees uk

Hardee’s is well known throughout the United States, but the brand is yet to reach UK shores. Consequently, investors are always interested in news and rumours concerning the business making a move across the Atlantic. Here, we take a look at why the business has proven so successful in its home nation, how the brand developed over time, and whether they franchise in the UK.

What is Hardee’s?

Hardee’s is a fast food restaurant based in the United States. Their menu is primarily centred on burgers and traditional US fast food offerings, though the chain had also diversified and introduced a range of chicken dishes, as well as burritos and other extras.

In its home country, Hardee's is most popular in the southern and Midwestern states, where it has established the majority of its restaurants. Currently, the chain's parent company operates a total of 3,100 restaurants. Roughly one-half of these restaurants are Hardee's franchises, while the other half is made of Carl's Jr locations. The two brands work closely together and often utilise the same recipes and menu items.

A brief history of Hardee’s

Founder Wilber Hardee established Hardee’s in 1960. The original location proved so popular that Hardee partnered with two other entrepreneurs to expand the brand into Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Legend has it that soon after this second restaurant opened, Hardee lost his controlling share to his partners in a game of poker. He sold the remainder of shares and left to pursue other business ventures.

His two ex-partners, Gardner and Rawls, decided to adopt the franchising model and were soon building an expansive franchise network consisting of hundreds of locations. In 1966, Gardner left the company to pursue a political career. In the early ‘70s, the business acquired the restaurant chain Sandy’s and began converting their locations to Hardee’s, though it wasn't until the end of the decade that this process was completed.

After many mergers and acquisitions in the ‘80s, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. bought Hardee’s for $327 million. This meant that Hardee’s was now part of one of the largest fast food networks in the US.

Who owns Hardee's?

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. is headquartered in Tennessee, US and operates a number of much loved fast food brands. These include Hardee's, Carl's Jr, Green Burrito, and Red Burrito. In total, the company is responsible for 3,664 restaurants spread over 39 countries. Though it is a privately owned company, it utilises the franchise model to facilitate the growth of its brands.

Hardee's and Carl's Jr are the two most important brands in CKE's portfolio, and the company has used them both to ensure full coverage of the United States. The distribution of Hardee's and Carl's Jr restaurants divides the country in half diagonally, with the south-eastern and Midwestern states playing home to Hardee's and the south and north-west favouring Carl's Jr.

Who is the CEO of Hardee’s?

Currently, the CEO of the CKE group and, by extension, Hardee’s, is Jason Marker. Having taken over from former CEO Andrew Puzder in 2017, Marker had an immediate impact on the company’s fortunes by embroiling it in a damaging age-discrimination lawsuit. More positively, he also announced that both of its key brands would be undergoing a restaurant design rethink and renovation. This was part of a larger plan to distinguish Hardee’s from Carl’s Jr and to ensure that each business was able to market itself to a different target audience.

Do Hardee’s franchise?

Hardee's do offer franchise opportunities in both the US and on an international scale. While virtually all restaurants outside of the U.S are franchised enterprises, those within the US are split between company-owned restaurants and franchised units. Currently, the chain is looking to find new franchisees that want to open locations in the eastern United States or the Middle East. The company is particularly interested in discussing investment opportunities with those who have the capital and business expertise required to open multiple locations over a relatively short period.

Where does Hardee's operate?

Hardee's has a presence in more than 30 US states and across a diverse array of international markets. These include Bahrain, Jordon, Egypt, Kazakhstan, El Salvador, Kuwait, Guatemala, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Oman, Iraq, Jamaica, Pakistan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Taiwan. Hardee's strong presence in the Middle East is a result of its heavily developed franchising arrangements. These are primarily run by the Americana Group, a food and franchising specialist.

Hardees London UK

There are currently no Hardee’s locations in the UK, and there does not appear to be any plans to begin franchising here shortly. However, Hardee’s are open about their desire to move into profitable markets whenever the right opportunity arises. This may mean that they’re yet to find the right individual or organisation to operate UK restaurants. Anyone interested in becoming the master franchisee for UK-based Hardee's should contact the company for further information and to inquire as to whether such opportunities are available.

Hardees UK halal

On a global level, there are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. This means that there’s a large market for halal food and that anyone who doesn’t utilise halal products is limiting their appeal quite drastically. In the Middle East, all of Hardee’s restaurants are halal certified, and all of their products are suitable for consumption by the local Muslim population. If Hardee’s were to move into the UK market, it is likely that they would adopt a similar approach, allowing them to market themselves to all of the UK’s diverse population.

Read more: Meet Growing Demand with a Halal Franchise

What does the future hold for Hardee’s?

Currently, Hardee’s is predominately focusing on reshaping its brand and forging a new and distinct identity that distinguishes it from sister-company Carl’s Jr. Though this close partnership was useful in the past, it is now felt that both brands would benefit from pursuing their own identities. Hardee’s will also have to focus on international expansion beyond the Middle East, with South America being a possible growth area.

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