Industry News | June 1, 2010

Burgers in Vietnam? CKE is Banking On It

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CKE Restaurants Inc. opened its first Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, this week. This marks the first of at least 25 Carl’s Jr. units to be opened in Vietnam over the next six years and is the first major Western quick-service hamburger chain to open in the market. The restaurants in Vietnam will be operated by Mesa Asia Pacific Trading Services Company Limited, whose parent is a successful holding company specializing in consumer goods distribution, restaurant operations, media, and real estate development.

CKE’s entry into the Vietnam market is part of a strategic plan to accelerate franchise development in international markets and grow the system as a whole. The 25-restaurant development deal is part of a greater development plan that CKE Restaurants has for Asia. In addition to existing operations in China, Singapore, Malaysia, American Samoa, and Vietnam, CKE plans to enter Indonesia later this year after signing a commitment agreement with PT Fortune Foods Limited to open 25 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Jakarta, Indonesia. CKE continues to expand its presence in the region and is actively seeking new franchisees.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mesa Group Inc. as a part of the CKE team. The strength of our brand matched with Mesa’s expertise and knowledge of the Vietnamese market gives us confidence that we will have a bright future in the market,” says Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. “The growth in the Vietnamese consumer market is truly remarkable and we wanted to take this opportunity along with the Mesa Group to employee a ‘first-mover’ strategy in our segment. In this regard, we are happy to introduce real, American-style charbroiled burgers to the market.”

"We are very excited to launch Carl’s Jr. in Vietnam with our great partner CKE Restaurants. We are determined to make Carl’s Jr. the leading QSR brand in Vietnam by providing premium, high-quality menu items, premium facilities, and exceptional customer service,” says Ms. Luu Tuyet Mai, CEO of Mesa Group. “We have aggressive growth plans for Vietnam, and plan to bring Carl’s Jr. to major cities over the next few years. We hope to make Carl’s Jr. the destination of choice for hungry Vietnamese consumers.”

CKE franchises 342 international restaurants between both its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands. The company has strategic development plans to double its international presence within the next five years.