Industry News | April 16, 2008

Carl's Jr. Not Flattered by Imitations

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The Western Bacon Cheeseburger, introduced at Carl s Jr. in 1981, is the best-selling premium burger on the chain's menu. To date, Burger King, Jack in the Box and even casual-dining chains, such as Red Robin and Applebee's, have made repeated attempts to copy "The Western," as Carl's Jr. staffers and customers refer to it.

To help remind the burger-loving public that "no one does Western like Carl's Jr.," participating restaurants will be offering guests a free single Western Bacon Cheeseburger with the purchase of any version of the Western Bacon Cheeseburger on Thursday, April 17. Carl's Jr. restaurants in the following states, areas or markets will be participating in the event: Texas; Oklahoma; Southern California; Bakersfield, Chico/Redding and Eureka, Calif.; Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma, Ariz.; Boise, Idaho; Reno, Nev.; Spokane and Yakima, Wash.

"First Jack in the Box tried to copy the groundbreaking Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Burger line, which we make with big, charbroiled, 100% Black Angus beef patties, with their Sirloin Burgers, which are fried on a flat grill," says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl's Jr. "And now they are trying to blatantly rip-off the Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger, which has been on our menu for more than 25 years," adds Haley. "Jack must have decided to turn their new $150 million 'Innovation Center' into an employee lounge."

Consumers seem to agree with Haley's sentiment because a survey in The Orange County Register's Fast Food Maven blog showed that 73 percent of people preferred the Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger over the Jack in the Box copycat.

To further celebrate the distinctiveness of the Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger, Carl's Jr. has brought back the iconic "Mechanical Bull" commercial from 2004, featuring a woman riding a mechanical bull while enjoying the burger to the strains of Foghat's "Slow Ride," with the tagline, "No one does Western like Carl's Jr." Los Angeles-based advertising agency Mendelsohn|Zien created the ad and are the masterminds behind other famous Carl's Jr. ads including the memorable Paris Hilton commercial, "That's Hot," from 2005.

In a re-creation of the "Mechanical Bull" commercial, a bull-riding beauty will bring traffic to a stand-still at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles Thurs., April 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to remind customers everywhere why the award-winning Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger has earned its reputation as a cult classic.

Carl's Jr. offers a variety of Western Bacon Cheeseburgers including the original single, the Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger and the Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger, which joined the menu in 2003. The award-winning Western Bacon Cheeseburger hasn't left the Carl's Jr. menu in more than 25 years.