CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. owns, operates and franchises some of the most popular brands in the quick-service restaurant industry, including the Carl’s Jr.®, Hardee’s®, Green Burrito® and Red Burrito® restaurant brands. The CKE system includes more than 3,300 restaurant locations in 42 states and in 28 countries. CKE is headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee.
The growth of the now ubiquitous quick-service restaurant is a story of eager young entrepreneurs, including CKE Restaurants founder and industry pioneer Carl N. Karcher, who fed America’s appetite for mobility and an affordable, high-quality meal. Built alongside the emerging car culture of Southern California during and post-World War II, the quick-service restaurant industry grew with the country’s expansive highways and has become a part of American life.
At CKE Restaurants, we know that today’s consumer has a variety of options when dining out. We’re able to remain top of mind by focusing on quality in everything we do… from the ingredients we choose and the care we take it preparing a superior product, to the high level of standards we maintain in creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere for our guests.
A PRIORITY ON RESTAURANT FUNDAMENTALS
We start by creating lasting first impressions. Our restaurants are bright, cheerful and bustling — a place our customers want to be. Our veteran restaurant operators take considerable effort to keep our restaurants clean, well maintained, and operating efficiently with attention paid to reducing environmental impacts.
OUR PEOPLE TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT THEY DO
We recognize that the entire face of CKE rests in a single interaction with one restaurant employee. By taking the care to properly train and motivate our crew members, we instill a sense of pride and respect as they perform their daily jobs. We boost morale — and with that, the overall customer experience, by offering products our crew is proud to serve and by engaging them in ensuring our operations are environmentally responsible.
QUALITY INGREDIENTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Our customers aren't just looking to fill their stomachs when they visit one of our restaurants; they’re craving a delicious, satisfying meal. We procure high-quality ingredients that meet our exacting standards from the leading suppliers of beef, poultry and produce to ensure a product that stands out from other quick-service and fast-casual fare.
Innovation has been a cornerstone of our corporate culture since our founding. Staying on top requires that we continue to lead the way in the products we serve and the dining experience we offer our guests.
OUR PRODUCTS ARE UNMATCHED
From the 100% Angus beef Six Dollar Burger™ line at Carl’s Jr.® to our 100% Angus beef Thickburgers™ at Hardee’s®, we consistently out-deliver any other quick-service burger or fast-casual Mexican establishment in the innovation of our products. We’re able to do this by listening to our customers and by creating unique products that remain in step with the increasingly sophisticated taste preferences of the diverse population. The dual-branding program with our quick-service Mexican food brands, Green Burrito® at Carl's Jr. and Red Burrito™ at Hardee's, allows us to add variety at our restaurants and increase our share across the burger and Mexican food segments.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
We're implementing new ways to improve the customer experience by moving beyond the typical box structure of most quick-service dining establishments to one that employs components of fast-casual, including new architectural prototypes that improve the overall seating and restaurant atmosphere, while simultaneously reducing our energy use and associated environmental impacts. Our fast-casual restaurants draw from the best in casual dining while offering the convenience and affordability our guests’ desire.
We’re also asking our suppliers to think outside the box and consider ways they can be innovative and reduce their environmental impacts, just as we strive to reduce ours.
Advancements in technology have vastly improved the speed, accuracy, resource efficiency and convenience of the quick-service and fast-casual dining experience. We strive to remain on top of these trends and adopt technologies to reduce our use of resources and improve the level of service we offer our guests.
In every transaction, our performance, quality and value are judged relative to other competing brands. In order to remain competitive, we must live up to our customer expectations. We are committed to continuous improvement in our business in order that we might remain relevant to our customers, enhance our operating performance, and increase shareholder value.
WE MUST CONTINUE TO EXCEL IN RESTAURANT FUNDAMENTALS
The importance of quality, service and cleanliness — the three basic tenets of running a successful restaurant business — cannot be underestimated. We also add to that environmental responsibility and resource conservation as a fourth restaurant fundamental. We are committed to making these an ongoing priority in our business. We will continue to succeed by adhering to a level of quality that exceeds those of our competitors and by promoting a culture that embraces these standards.
WE MUST REMAIN RELEVANT TO OUR CUSTOMERS
In the highly competitive restaurant industry, we know that we cannot rest on our past success. We must continue to innovate in order to remain relevant to our customers. We are committed to offering delicious and differentiated products, as well as improving the dining experience through aesthetic and technological enhancements.
WE MUST MANAGE OUR BUSINESS PROFITABLY
At the end of the day, our operating performance is the true test of whether we’re running a successful business. We are committed to a premium product strategy that emphasizes value versus volume and raises the bar for consumers’ expectations with respect to quality and price.
We are also committed to cultivating environmental responsibility in our operations. We believe our approach has the potential to improve sales and profitability over the long run at each of our brands.
WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO POSITIVELY IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY
CKE recognizes the opportunity we have each and every day in the cities and towns in which we operate to make a positive impact on the community and support environmental conservation. In the spirit of the company’s founder, Carl N. Karcher, CKE believes we can best share our success by taking a leadership role in the communities in which we serve. CKE is committed to helping the local community through programs that support area youth and assist families in need. Further, CKE pledges to reduce waste and decrease its impact on the environment wherever economically feasible.
On his first day in the fast-food business, Carl N. Karcher took in $14.75. In fiscal year 2007, his namesake CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. earned revenues of approximately $1.5 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.
Chief Executive Officer
Jason Marker assumed his role as CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. in April 2017. Before then, Marker served as president of Kentucky Fried Chicken® U.S. (“KFC”) where he garnered extensive domestic and international QSR experience and a proven track record of revenue and profit growth, innovation, and brand positioning.
He brings with him experience from a variety of senior leadership roles at KFC U.S., KFC International and Unilever. As president of KFC U.S., Marker was responsible for the overall strategy and performance of a business with more than $4.2 billion in system sales, 4,200 restaurants, and 450 franchisees. Marker launched a new advertising campaign in 2015, invested in operations, and partnered with the franchise community to drive profitable growth.
His efforts led KFC U.S. to three consecutive years of same-store sales and transaction growth and doubling operating margins. Prior to becoming president in 2013, Marker served KFC and Yum! Brands International in various marketing leadership roles: General Manager, KFC U.S. (2014-2015), Chief Marketing Officer, KFC U.S. (2011- 2013), VP Global Marketing, KFC Global (2010 – 2011) and Chief Marketing Officer, KFC & Pizza Hut South Pacific (2007 – 2010).
Marker also worked in various brand management leadership roles at Unilever. He holds both a Master and Bachelor of Business/ Commerce from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
E. Michael Murphy
E. Michael Murphy was appointed President and Chief Legal Officer of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. in January 2009. He previously served as Chief Administrative Officer from 2006; and was named executive vice president, general counsel and Secretary of the Company in July 2000. He still serves as Secretary of the Company.
In his current position, Murphy leads the legal, human resources, payroll and information technology departments, as well as oversees all franchising and international endeavors for both the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands.
Mr. Murphy started with the Company in July 1998 when he was named senior vice president and general counsel of Hardee’s. Prior to his association with the Company, Mr. Murphy was a partner in the litigation department at The Stolar Partnership, a law firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Murphy is currently a member of the American Bar Association and the Missouri Bar Association.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and his law degree from St. Louis University.
Ned Lyerly was named President, International in June, 2014. As the company’s senior international executive, Lyerly leads the company’s international division and has been instrumental in its growth to 600+ restaurants in more than 30 countries.
Prior to his current role, Lyerly was the company’s Executive Vice President of International from June, 2012 to June, 2014. Previously he held the position of Executive Vice President of Global Franchise Development where he oversaw franchise development for the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands in the United States and around the world. Over his 30 year career with CKE, Lyerly has held positions in many functional disciplines including: Senior Vice President International, Vice President International, Director - International Finance and Marketing, Director - Domestic Finance (Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc.), Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis (Imasco USA, Inc. / Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc.).
Lyerly is a Certified Franchise Executive and currently serves as a member of the International Franchise Association’s International Leadership Council. Lyerly received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Theodore Abajian was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. in April 2003. Mr. Abajian joined the Company as chief administrative officer in March 2002, following the completion of the acquisition of Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, Inc.
Prior to the merger, Abajian served as president and chief executive officer of Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, Inc. beginning in November 2000 and as executive vice president and chief financial officer from May 1998. From January 2000 to October 2000, Abajian held the position of senior vice president and chief financial officer for Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. Prior to joining Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, Inc., Abajian served as chief financial officer of Star Buffet, Inc. since the company’s formation in July 1997.
Abajian holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Chief Marketing Officer
Jeff Jenkins was named Chief Marketing Officer for CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc., in July 2017. Jenkins comes to CKE from Whole Foods where he served as a Global Executive in charge of Digital Marketing, E-commerce, Media, Customer Care and Channel Activation.
He joins the CKE team with over 15 years of experience in digital and deep food service marketing. During his time at Whole Foods, he launched the company into the digital era, becoming a national leader in grocery delivery in less than two years. Prior to Whole Foods Market, he was the Director of Digital Experience and New Platforms for Taco Bell and was responsible for the development and launch of the Cannes Lion winning mobile ordering app.
Jenkins obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Charles A. Seigel III
Chief Legal Officer
Charles A. “Chip” Seigel III was promoted to Chief Legal Officer in June 2017. In his current position, Mr. Seigel oversees the Legal Department and is a key member of the Executive Leadership Team.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Seigel served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of CKE from October 2016. Mr. Seigel joined CKE as Senior Vice President, Legal of CKE and General Counsel of Carl’s Jr. in April 2005.
Prior to his association with CKE, Mr. Seigel was the Founder and a Principal of the St. Louis business litigation firm of Seigel and Wolff, P.C. and a Principal of the firm of Gallop, Johnson and Neuman, PC.
Mr. Seigel received his undergraduate BBA degree in Accounting from The George Washington University and his law degree from The Washington University School of Law. Mr. Seigel is currently a member of the California Bar Association and the Missouri Bar Association.
Chief Development Officer
Jim Sullivan joined CKE in June of 2012 as the Senior Vice President of Domestic Franchise Development. In this role, he was responsible for restaurant and franchise development, including managing franchise sales and growth of the domestic franchise system. Through his leadership, CKE’s franchise community experience substantial and sustained growth, including generating the highest net increase in U.S. locations among all traditional freestanding hamburger drive thru restaurants during 2015. In January of 2016, Jim was promoted to Executive Vice President of Domestic Development. In this new role, Jim is spearheading the domestic and real estate development activities and focus on the company’s agenda for continual growth.
Prior to joining CKE, Jim served as Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Friendly’s Ice Cream LLC where he was responsible for the company’s development, real estate and franchising activities.
John J. Dunion
Chief Supply Chain Officer
John J. Dunion was named Chief Supply Chain Officer for CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc in September 2013.
Dunion joined the Company in 1996 as vice president, purchasing, and was promoted to senior vice president, purchasing in 1998. Prior to assuming his current position, Dunion served as executive vice president, chief administrative officer.
Before joining CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., Dunion was with Unigate Restaurants, Inc. where he served as director and then vice president of purchasing. He has also held purchasing and technical management positions with Jack in the Box restaurants and Taco Bell Corporation. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Dunion holds a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Chief People Officer
Joanna Shepard brings over 20 years of experience to CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc. as the new Chief People Officer. Prior to joining CKE, Joanna worked for diverse companies including Danaher, Yum! Brands and McClatchy.
Career highlights include gaining global leadership experience encompassing India, various European countries, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Joanna has also appeared as an IBM/Kenexa guest speaker based on her work developing and deploying employee life cycle tools for single and multi-unit restaurant leaders. Conference topics have included engagement and leadership development in the workplace.
Joanna first gained experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries as a high school student working as a hostess and waitress for Casa Gallardo, a fast-casual concept in Tampa, FL. After high school, she worked for Ruby Tuesday’s and Studebakers to help pay for college. Joanna went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and a Master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH.
Chief Operating Officer
Tom Brennan joined CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc. in July 2017 as the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to his current position, Tom spent nearly 11 years with 7-Eleven where he served in a number of different roles in store operations, merchandising and store development. Most recently he was in charge of the $4B packaged beverage business that included all non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks as well as dairy, frozen food, and frozen treats.
Before joining 7-Eleven, Tom spent over two years in Minneapolis with the Target Corporation where he worked as part of the Financial Planning and Analysis team. Prior to his retail experience, he spent six years on active duty as part of the U.S. Army’s Amor Corps.
Tom earned his MBA from the University of Virginia and he holds a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Chief Information Officer
Stephen Carvelli was named Chief Information Officer of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. in July 2017. Prior to joining the CKE team, Carvelli was Chief Technology Officer for Lowe’s Companies where he led digital transformation and innovation, enterprise architecture, software engineering, and digital infrastructure.
Carvelli brings with him 20 years of experience in technology operations and digital business development for many leading brands. At Lowe’s, he was responsible for 500 Lowe’s Technology professionals in the U.S. and India. Carvelli was also responsible for Lowe’s enterprise merchandising and marketing systems.
Before joining Lowe’s, Stephen held progressive technology leadership roles in the Fortune 500 including American Eagle Outfitters, Chico’s, FAS, OfficeMax and The Walt Disney Company.
Carvelli holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology from John Carroll University.
At CKE Restaurants, we take pride in the quality of our menu items — from the Angus beef used for all of our Thickburgers™ at Hardee’s® and our Six Dollar Burger™ line at Carl’s Jr.® to the crispy whole leaf lettuce that wrap our low-carbohydrate sandwich options and sun-ripened tomatoes that grace our sandwiches and salads.
CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. is committed to serving safe, quality food to every guest, at every meal, every day. We have a Quality Assurance/Product Safety Program that effectively meets the challenges of food safety in today’s world of foodborne illnesses and food sanitation concerns. Here is how CKE proactively addresses product safety.