CKE Restaurants Inc.announced the opening of the first Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Panama, located at the Tocumen Panama International Airport in Panama City. The restaurant is operated by International Meal Company Caribbean and Central America, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Meal Corporation S.A., the largest retail food concessionaire and multibrand casual-dining chain in Brazil with operations in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Panama.
With the opening in Panama, CKE now licenses Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants in 20 countries.
“We are very excited to have International Meal Company Caribbean and Central America as a part of the CKE team. Latin America is a critical component of our international expansion goals and the premium hamburgers offered at Carl’s Jr. will be a perfect fit in these markets,” says Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants. “We currently have a very strong presence in Mexico and are well positioned for further expansion in Latin America.”
“The opening in Panama is also a milestone, marking the 20th country in which we operate,” Puzder says. “Our founder, Carl Karcher, started with one hot dog cart on a street corner in Los Angeles. Now, 70 years later, we’re operating restaurants in 20 countries. That sort of success is a testament to his legacy.”
“It is a great honor to bring Carl’s Jr. to the Panama market,” says Jose Algarin, CEO of International Meal Company Caribbean and Central America. “The premium products at Carl’s Jr. and their excellent service standards will deliver an ultimate dining experience to traveling consumers at the Tocumen Airport.”
CKE franchises 365 international restaurants between both its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands. In addition to Panama City, Carl’s Jr. restaurants operate at the LA/Ontario International Airport in California, and the following airports in Mexico: General Mariano Escobedo International Airport, Monterrey; General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport, Tijuana; Benito Juárez International Airport, Mexico City; Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport, Puerto Vallarta; and General Rafael Buelna International Airport, Mazatlan. CKE will open additional restaurants at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and Los Angeles International Airport later this year. CKE continues to explore expansion opportunities in captured-audience locations, such as airports, as it expands to meet its strategic development plan to double its international presence within the next five years.