CARPINTERIA Calif. CKE Restaurants Inc., parent company to the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s quick-service brands, said Wednesday that September same-store sales at both chains were positive despite competitor price discounting, gas shortages in the Southeast and just one week of advertising for new products.
For the four weeks ended Oct. 6, same-store sales rose 1.6 percent at Carl’s Jr. and 0.8 percent at Hardee’s. Carl’s Jr. benefited from a comparison to negative same-store sales results a year ago. Hardee’s posted a gain of 1.3 percent a year ago.
“We believe competitors’ aggressive discounting continued to negatively impact both brands sales results,” CKE president and chief executive Andrew Puzder said in a statement. “Deep discounting is a tactic we choose not to employ because it negatively impacts consumer perceptions of food quality as well as profitability.”
The company also said certain Hardee’s locations were hurt by the aftermath of Hurricane Ike that closed gas refineries and gas stations in the Southeast. The two chains introduced new products and advertising during the final week of the four-week period, the company also noted. The new campaigns feature an addition to Carl’s Jr. Guacamole Bacon burger and a breakfast Pork Chop N Gravy biscuit at Hardee’s.
While CKE continues to focus on premium quick-service menu offerings with higher prices, like the Six Dollar Burger at Carl’s Jr. and the Thickburger at Hardee’s, the company also introduced about two weeks ago a Little Thickburger. The new item is a quarter pound version of the standard one-third pound Thickburger, and is priced at $1.99.
“The burger’s smaller size and price appeals to those consumers who consider our original Thickburgers too big or too expensive in the current economic environment,” Puzder said.
For the full year, through Oct. 6, same-store sales are up 3.2 percent at Carl’s Jr. and 1 percent at Hardee’s, the company reported.
CKE and its franchisees operate about 1,170 Carl’s Jr. units and 1,917 Hardee’s restaurants.