Hardee’s franchise owner Restaurant Management Group (RMG) has received the 2012 Wilber Hardee Founder’s Award from Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc.

The prestigious award is named after the founder of Hardee’s and is awarded annually to the single Hardee’s franchise owner that best exemplifies and embodies the ideals of entrepreneurial spirit, vision, leadership, teamwork, and community involvement.

The Founder’s Award is a beacon among the awards given to franchisees at the annual Independent Hardee’s Franchise Association conference. The award was presented to RMG’s executives in attendance at the conference held this year in St. Louis.

“We’re extremely proud to receive the Founder’s Award and all the honor it brings,” says Craig McClure, RMG partner. “This is about our team members and all they’ve done over the past 12 years in their communities to provide the best Hardee’s experience to our customers.”

RMG began with the entrepreneurial spirit of four visionaries–McClure, Jack Mangan, Pierre Boursse, and J.R. DeLang–who became business partners in 2000 and formed RMG. They have grown with the brand and operate 42 Hardee’s restaurants, 19 of which are dual-branded with Red Burrito, in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

The RMG management team is active in the franchise community, holding several leadership positions with the Independent Hardee’s Franchisee Association (IHFA).

Additionally, the late Jack Mangan was a driving force behind the new Stars for Heroes charitable fundraising initiative adopted by Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. corporate and franchise-owned stores in support of military communities and families.

Honoring that spirit and vision, RMG employees actively support several local and regional charitable organizations, including the Patriot Foundation Scholarship Fund, Second Harvest Food Banks, sports teams, Partners in Education and several children’s summer reading programs.

“It is an honor once again to recognize our franchisees’ hard work and dedication,” says Michael Murphy, president and chief legal officer of CKE Restaurants, Inc. “The ongoing success of Hardee’s is in great measure the result of their individual efforts and their unified commitment to providing guests with the best food, service and dining experience in the industry.

“This is the fourth year that we have presented this award and it is a genuine pleasure to be able to award Restaurant Management Group our Founder’s Award as they truly demonstrate the principles and ideals on which this brand was founded. We hope that they inspire and motivate all of our owners and operators, and keep blazing trails toward even greater achievements in the future.”

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, News, Carl's Jr., Hardee's