CKE Press Release

Carl's Jr. named Most Improved Burger Chain by Sandelman & Associates (Graphic: Business Wire)

May 01, 2013

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Earn Most Improved Chains in Industry Awards

Carl’s Jr. named Most Improved Burger Chain by Sandelman & Associates Hardee’s named Most Improved Chain by Technomic, Inc.

CARPINTERIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Already among the industry’s leaders, Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® recently earned most improved honors from two of the quick-service industry’s leading consumer research firms. Competing against all major fast-food burger chains, Sandelman & Associates awarded Carl’s Jr. its newly released Quick-Track® Awards of Excellence as “Most Improved Burger Chain” for 2012. Competing against all chain restaurants, Technomic, Inc. acknowledged Hardee’s in its “Chains to Watch” report as the “Most Improved Chain” for 2012.

According to the Sandelman survey results released last month, Carl’s Jr. improved on its overall “excellent” rating based on the last visit to the restaurant from 27 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 34 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“This is quite an accomplishment for a traditional QSR burger chain such as Carl’s Jr.,” said Bob Sandelman, CEO of San Clemente, Calif.-based Sandelman & Associates, Inc., “especially given the increasing competition from the ‘Better Burger’ segment that has emerged in the recent past and has grown rapidly in terms of penetration and popularity.”

The award is based on 2012 results from Sandelman’s syndicated research study of 10,000-plus QSR users; the study tracked key consumer behavioral and attitudinal measures for all major fast-food chains in individual markets, from 2011 to 2012. The win was based on a “statistically significant improvement in the overall rating of the last visit to Carl’s Jr.,” Sandelman stated. Importantly, Carl’s Jr. was already rated as the top QSR burger chain in the previous year’s study yet was still able to post the largest improvement this year, which made for an even more impressive accomplishment.

Technomic, a leading restaurant industry research and consulting firm, monitors the performance of more than 115 leading limited-service and full-service restaurant chains by measuring consumer experience and providing chain ratings based on 60+ brand attributes. Its Consumer Brand Metrics Program, a continuous tracking study of over 80,000 restaurant consumers, recently named Hardee’s as the most improved brand in the field of these leading restaurant chains.

To determine which chains experienced the most significant improvement from 2011 to 2012, Technomic calculated an average score for each chain based on ratings for each attribute measured in the survey, including: food taste and quality, order efficiency, restaurant cleanliness, value, and service-oriented measures. Hardee’s showed tremendous gains in this survey, improving by 4.6 percentage points from 72.4 percent in 2011 to 77 percent in 2012.

"Hardee's has done a great job in continuing to improve the overall positioning of its brand with consumers,” said Darren Tristano, Technomic EVP. “Hardee's has continued to gain traction in its overall quality, execution, and a number of other factors from a consumer's point of view. Menu innovations including the 100% Black Angus Thickburger®, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™, Turkey Burgers and Hand-Scooped Ice Cream treats have given Hardee’s customers a reason to rate their visits with higher customer satisfaction.”

“These are both highly respected industry consumer research firms and two of the most valued awards we could possibly win,” said Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. “It reflects the concerted efforts that our operations teams have made, ensuring that our guests always get the best tasting product, made with quality ingredients, served at the right temperature, and by a friendly staff in inviting locations.”

“Sales have been positive at both brands, customer satisfaction has been up and our executive team is extremely pleased with all of these accomplishments,” Puzder added. “We appreciate the professional efforts of both Sandelman & Associates and Technomic for taking the time to quantify these attributes and allowing us to demonstrate that hard work and perseverance do indeed pay off.”

About Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr.is celebrating more than 70 years in the quick-service industry. What began as a lone hot dog cart in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1941 is today a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. of Carpinteria, Calif. As of the end of fiscal 2013, the Company, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,318 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and 28 foreign countries and U.S. territories worldwide, including 1,369 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,944 Hardee's restaurants. For more information, or to find a Carl’s Jr. near you, go to www.carlsjr.com. Carl’s Jr. social media sites include www.facebook.com/carlsjr, www.twitter.com/carlsjr and www.youtube.com/carlsjr.

About Hardee’s

Celebrating more than 50 years in the quick-service industry, Hardee’s Food Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. of Carpinteria, Calif. As of the end of fiscal 2013, the Company, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,318 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and 28 foreign countries and U.S. territories worldwide, including 1,369 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,944 Hardee's restaurants. For more information, or to find a Hardee’s near you, go to www.hardees.com. Hardee’s social media sites include www.facebook.com/hardees, www.twitter.com/hardees and www.youtube.com/hardees.

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