About Hardee's


Hardee's Food Systems, Inc. is an American restaurant chain, which predominantly operates in the South and Midwest states. It has evolved through several corporate ownerships since its establishment in 1960. It is currently owned and operated by CKE Restaurants. Along with its sibling restaurant chain, Carl's Jr., Hardee's is the fifth largest fast-food restaurant chain in the United States after Subway, McDonald's, Burger King[4] and Wendy's.It is headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.


Hardee's founder, Wilbur Hardee, opened his first restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina, on September 9, 1960.On the strength of its distinctive burger menu items, including the Huskee, the chain experienced rapid growth by franchising and, to a lesser extent, by acquiring other restaurant chains.

The 1960s

Many original Hardee's were built with a hexagonal style building with a pointed roof. In keeping with that theme, for a short period of time, Hardee's hamburgers were actually hexagonal, particularly the quarter-pound patties.

The 1970s

In the early 1970s, the regular menu featured the Huskee Junior (a two-patty burger with a unique sauce) and the Deluxe Huskee (a quarter-pound burger with mayonnaise). Growth was rapid on the strength of the distinctive taste of these two marquee menu items.

The 1980s
The "classic" Hardee's logo, usually depicted in orange on a blue or brown background. It was used by the chain from 1976 until adopting the Happy Star logo from Carl's Jr. in 1999. It can still be seen at a few older locations.

At one point, the chain expanded to over 4,000 locations in the United States, but Hardee's was affected by the buy-out phenomena of the 1980s. Hardee's was purchased by Imasco in 1981, which also owned Imperial Tobacco Canada, Peoples Drug (USA, later sold to CVS), Shopper's Drug Mart (Canada), and The Tinder Box.

The 1990s

For a few years in the early 1990s, Hardee's outlets sold the popular fried chicken recipe acquired from the Roy Rogers fast food chain, hoping it could compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Hardee's locations in southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina still serve chicken today, where sales remain strong, as well as the traditional sides such as mashed potatoes & gravy, cole slaw, and biscuits. For a time Hardee's was a competitor to Arby's for roast beef sandwiches, an item still sold at some franchised locations.

ardee's today

In 1997, having contracted to fewer than 2000 locations, the Hardee's chain was acquired by CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurant chain (Imasco retained the few remaining Roy Rogers locations until 2003, at which time the trademark and franchise system were reportedly purchased by Frederick, Maryland-based Plamondon Enterprises.

Controversies, disputes and legal issues
Burger Chef copyright dispute

In January 2007, Hardee's had a challenge filed against it with the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office by River West Brands, LLC of Chicago for the use of the Burger Chef trademark and name. Shortly thereafter, Hardee's reissued the Burger Chef Big Shef sandwich in Terre Haute, Indiana, as a trial offering and later in other Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri markets for a limited time. The reissue of the Big Shef has also utilized the Burger Chef name and logo in advertisements in the markets in which it is offered, and the claim was to provide Burger Chef fans with their Big Shef "fix". On April 16, 2009, River West Brands dropped their petition for cancellation and both parties agreed to pay their own attorneys fees.

Harvey's controversy

Due to a trademark dispute with Canada's Harvey's burger chain, the Hardee's name cannot be used in that country. Instead, CKE Restaurants has opened stores there under the Carl's Jr. name.[18]

In the early days of the take-over by CKE, Hardee's began to use the anthropomorphic smiling star logo that Carl's Jr. had used for many years. "The Hardee's Star", as it was now called, appeared in a series of commercials played by a dwarf in a costume likeness of the star.

NASCAR Sponsorship

The company sponsored the Winston Cup cars driven by Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett and Alan Kulwicki throughout the 1980s and in 1990, Hardee's sponsored Russ Wheeler's car in the film Days of Thunder.

Thickburger campaign

Early commercials during the Thickburger campaign made a point of acknowledging and apologizing for the poor quality of Hardee's past cuisine and service. Later commercials demonstrated adults attempting to fit their mouths around the large Thickburger.

Children's advertising

Although the franchise would come to humorously criticize such concepts, Hardee's has conceived several memorable Kids' meal toys throughout the past few decades. The 1980s featured popular, nonposeable figures of the Smurfs as well as Beach Bunnies. Renditions of other cartoon characters would later premiere, including the Ghostbusters and Nickelodeon characters.


Several Hardee's ad campaigns in the 2000s have been criticized by groups such as Parents Television Council for their sexually suggestive nature. Recent campaigns targeted include "More Than a Piece of Meat" featuring scantily clad women appearing to receive sexual gratification from consuming Hardee's products, and "Name Our Holes" — an ad campaign and website promoting Hardee's Biscuit Holes.

Products and nutrition
Monster Thickburger
Monster Thickburger Nutritional value per 1 sandwich (413 g)
Energy 1,410 kcal (5,900 kJ)

46 g (15%)
Dietary fiber  g (8%)

107 g
Saturated 36 g (225%)

70 g
Other constituents
965 kcal (4,040 kJ)
Cholesterol 210 mg
May vary outside US market.

g = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

The burger contains 1,410 calories (5,900 kJ), 107 grams of fat, and 2,740 mg of sodium.


While Hardee's has experienced extensive changes in its lunch and dinner menus over the years, its breakfast menu has remained largely unchanged. As a result, Hardee's still retains significant customer loyalty.


Hardee's features low-carb items on both the breakfast and regular menus. Hardee's carries a Karoushtopher Thickburger the same as an Original Thickburger but with a Lettuce Leaf Wrap instead of a sesame seed bun. This burger was introduced at international franchises in the Middle East.

International menu

The only remaining international Hardee's franchises are located in countries in the Middle East and Pakistan, most being owned and operated by Americana Group.The menu at these locations is very similar to the Hardee's menu of the 80s and 90s in the US.

Global locations
Map showing the states with locations of Carl's Jr. in yellow and states with locations of Hardee's colored red. States with both Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are colored orange

Countries currently with Hardee's:

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