By Bob Johns
The fast-food chain returns to the Northeast after a 20-year absence.
Hardee’s, the fast-food chain known for huge burgers and provocative ads, is planning to return to the Northeastern U.S. after pulling out in the 90s. The company had closed nearly all of its stores in the region before being acquired by CKE Restaurants in 1997. Since then, the company has enjoyed a rebound in brand popularity, sales, and growth.
The brand will initially expand by opening locations in New York and New Jersey, with Connecticut and Massachusetts following quickly. The locations will be stand-alone and include drive-thru service, with the first ones opening in 12-18 months. Franchisee Bhupen Patel will operate the new restaurants, “As soon as I learned there was interest and the potential to reopen Hardee's here in the Northeast, I knew I had found what I was seeking," Patel Says. On the corporate side, Jim Sullivan, senior vice president of domestic franchise development for CKE, called the expansion "a massive advance into prime territory and a tremendous opportunity for a highly anticipated return."
The ambitious plans call for up to 200 new restaurants to be opened in the Northeast over the next five years, adding to the, 2000 locations already open throughout the U.S. The Hardee’s chain has aligned itself with fellow CKE franchise Carl’s Jr. restaurants by airing provocative ads featuring scantily clad women and suggestive promotion titles. Apparently the advertising campaigns are working, since the company is poised to re-enter a market it abandoned two decades ago.