Skip navigation
Carl's Jr.

Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s hit $5 ‘sweet spot’ with new value box

With the All Star Meal, the burger chain joins a growing and competitive discount category

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have entered the $5 value-box arena.

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. launched its All Star Meals campaign on Monday at its dual burger chains, a move that the company says will bring “quality and quantity to the value-box game.”

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s join a growing and competitive discount category.

The $5 value-box concept has been around since 2013, when Berkshire Hathaway’s Dairy Queen offered the $5 Buck Lunch.

Other operators followed suit, but Yum! Brands Inc.’s $5 Fill Up at KFC seemed to strike a chord with consumers as the discount meal trend expanded to the Cravings Deal and Steak Quesarito Box at sister-brand Taco Bell and beyond. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has resurrected its $5 Bonafide Big Box.

“Five dollars is the consumer sweet spot,” Jeff Jenkins, chief marketing officer of the Franklin, Tenn.-based Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s told NRN. “Anything less than $5 is a perceived value – it’s one easy bill, easy to swipe or tap. For us, it was about providing substantial value at $5 with no compromise, and giving people a way out of mismatched value-menu bingo to get a real meal.”  

The All Star Meal bundles may help Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s run with the pack, but the company has made a concerted effort to stand out after experiencing leadership turbulence earlier this year.

Andy Puzder stepped down as CEO to join the Trump administration as Labor Secretary, eventually withdrawing amid concerns that lawmakers wouldn’t confirm his nomination. 

His replacement, Jason Marker, who previously served as president of Kentucky Fried Chicken U.S., has overseen a significant overhaul of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s image.

The brand’s retooled marketing strategy exchanged commercials featuring scantily clad women for a more humorous focus, introducing a fictional Carl Hardee Sr. as its spokesman.

The newfound concentration on value contributed to the creation of the new meal bundles that combine existing menu items.

Four variations of the value meal are available and each include fries, a cookie and a 20 oz. drink alongside either:

· A double cheeseburger and a jumbo hot dog
· A double cheeseburger and an order of onion rings
· A double cheeseburger and a spicy chicken sandwich
· Three chicken tenders


“For the All Star box campaign, we are laser-focusing on our food and our quality over our competitors,” Jenkins said.  “We have the best value equation out there – quality food for the money – and are taking an impossible-to-ignore approach to tell our story.”

The Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brand currently has more than 3,800 global locations, including a presence in 44 U.S. states.

Contact Dan Orlando at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @DanAMX

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.