Hardee’s: Feel Your Happy Hardee’s

May 29, 2021

Charbroiled Thickburgers

Hardee’s 1,767 U.S. Store Locations

Some of us might remember the days when you could buy a hamburger for 15 cents, french fries for 10 cents and a milkshake for 20 cents. Well, some of us, that is. It was back in 1960, September 3rd, to be exact, that Wilber Hardee, opened his first Hardee’s® restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina. Were they successful? Oh, yes! By the end of the 1960s, there were more than 200 Hardee’s locations.

But, let’s back up a little.
In 1961, with a year of success under his belt, Wilber met with James Gardner and Leonard Rawls to discuss opening another location. In May 1961, James and Leonard opened the first company store in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The location was known as building number one.

Rawls and Gardner sold their first franchises to a group of friends who formed their own companies and built hundreds more franchised locations.

In 1963, Hardee’s Food Systems went public with Rawls as president and Gardner as vice president, Gardner, however left the company when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1966.

In 1964, for just 60 cents, you could enjoy a cheeseburger with fries, a soft drink and an apple turnover.

As the 1970s rolled around, Hardee’s continued expanding and it was in this decade that it introduced its now-famous Made From Scratch™ Biscuits and Roast Beef Sandwich.

Expansion in the 1970s was done via the franchisee Hardee Northern, Inc, which was a subsidiary of Acme Markets, a prominent Philadelphpia-based grocery store chain.

Hardee’s purchased Sandy’s in 1972 and, by 1979 had converted them all to Hardee’s. In the late 1970s Hardee’s purchased Dee’s Drive-In., the Utah-based burger chain.

In the 1980s, Hardee’s opened its 2,000th location, and gave the world their amazing Cinnamon ‘N’ Raisin™ biscuit.

After acquiring the Roy Rogers Restaurants fast-food chain in the early 1990s, Hardee’s continued to sell the popular Roy Rogers Restaurant fried chicken recipe, hoping it could compete with KFC.

CKE Restaurants acquires Hardee’s in 1997, creating a chain of 3,828 restaurants in 40 states and 10 foreign countries.

Hardee’s also owned Rax Roast Beef for a period of time and sold roast beef sandwiches throughout the Hardee’s restaurants.

In November 2004, Hardee’s introduced its line of Thickburgers®made with 100% Black Angus beef patties.

In April 2015, Hardee’s announced the opening of its 300th restaurant in the Middle East with longtime franchisee, The Americana Group.

In July 2015, Hardee’s announced that it would be offering The All-Natural Burger.

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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