Carl’s Jr. expands to Turkey

The first Carl’s Jr. location in Turkey opened Tuesday in an Istanbul shopping mall, adding another nation to the chain’s growing international portfolio.

The location in Istanbul is the first of 25 in Turkey planned by local franchisee FET Restoran Isletmeleri A.S. over the next six years, Carl’s Jr. parent company CKE Restaurants Inc. said in a statement.

The move into Turkey is part of an ongoing strategy by Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE to double the international presence of Carl’s Jr. and sister brand Hardee’s within five years.

CKE already franchises 363 international locations between both brands. Systemwide, CKE operates or franchises 1,249 Carl’s Jr. locations and 1,899 Hardee’s restaurants in 42 states and 19 countries.

Over the past year, Carl’s Jr. locations have opened in Indonesia and Vietnam, part of the emerging region known as CIVETS, which includes Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.

“We believe the Turkish market has tremendous potential for our brand given the strength of its economy, the youthful population base and an appreciation for premium-quality burgers,” Andrew Puzder, CKE’s chief executive, in a statement. “It is also a gateway for European expansion.”

CKE is not alone in its efforts to spur growth outside North America, where economic woes have stifled expansion.

Both McDonald’s and Yum! Brands Inc., have accelerated international expansion, particularly in China, and Wendy’s is growing in the Philippines, China, Brazil and Japan. Fatburger is pushing into the Middle East and Asia.

India is another country that many U.S. restaurant brands are targeting for expansion. This week, representatives of several foodservice franchisors, including CKE, are traveling in India this week on a trip organized by the U.S. Commercial Service to help the companies recruit franchisees in the country.

RELATED: American chains travel to India to recruit franchisees [3]

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]