Industry News | January 28, 2009

McDonald's Has Competition in the Recession

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For the second time in less than two months, a newly opened Carl’s Jr. location has broken a company sales record.

First it was the new store in Marysville, Washington, that broke the chain’s one-week sales record during its December 9 opening week. During its first seven days of business, the location hit $105,063 in sales despite the sinking economy. Just a reminder: That was less than a week after the Big Three automakers groveled before Congress for a bailout.

Now, seven weeks later, as politicians battle over the country’s next stimulus package, the economy isn’t doing much better, but Carl’s Jr. somehow is.

It was announced today that the chain’s newly opened Porterville, California, location has broken the one-week sales title previously held by the Marysville store. In its first week of business, the store managed to garner $107,638 in sales—$2,575 more than the last recession-buster location.

“Posting back-to-back sales records in less than two months is remarkable,” says Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl’s Jr. “Wall Street seems to need a few success stories to shake it out of the doldrums, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide some.”

The vice president of operations for Carl’s Jr., Rick Fortman, attributes the store’s success to outstanding service from the unit’s 60 full- and part-time crew members. “What makes this record even more impressive is that the population of Porterville is just slightly more than 45,000,” he says, “and we received no guest complaints about the store during a very busy week.”

According to a statement issued by the company, Carl’s Jr. opened 17 company-operated units in fiscal 2009—an increase from 16 units opened in fiscal 2008 and the highest level of company-operated openings since fiscal 2001.

Corporate isn’t the only one hitting its stride during the recession, though. Carl’s Jr. domestic franchisees also opened 29 units during fiscal 2009, equaling their second-highest total-unit openings in the past eight years.

The Porterville Carl’s Jr. opened on January 20 and is dual-branded with Green Burrito. The record-setting crew in Porterville is led by general manager Veronica Forner, district manager Glen Hitchrick, and regional vice president Gary Zurmuhle.

--Blair Chancey