Carpinteria, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: CKR), franchisor and operator of Carl's Jr.(R) and Hardee's(R) restaurants, and Americana Group S.A.K. have announced a new expansion agreement to build 12 Carl's Jr. restaurants in Kazakhstan over the next five years. The Americana Group, the second largest franchisee in the CKE system, currently operates 194 Hardee's restaurants in the Middle East and will open its 200th location in the first quarter of 2009.
CKE Restaurants and the Americana Group have a successful 30-year relationship with plans for continued growth in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. As the most active developer in the CKE system, the Americana Group has averaged 24 new restaurant openings per year in the past three years with plans to open 27 Hardee's restaurants in 2009.
"We have a successful history with the Americana Group and are confident that they will continue to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and passion for the CKE brands as they expand in new and existing markets," said Andrew F. Puzder, president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. "International expansion remains a key strategic focus at CKE."
The Americana Group first opened Hardee's in Kuwait in 1980 and currently operates Hardee's in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. In 2008, Hardee's will serve 48,000,000 meals to hungry guests across the Middle East and North Africa. Hardee's has become synonymous with quality food and superior hospitality while its innovative burgers and sandwiches continue to set the brand apart from other quick-serve restaurants.
"The Americana Group knew that Hardee's was the perfect brand to launch in the Middle East because of its commitment to premium quality food and excellent guest service," said Amgad El Mofti, President of the Americana Group. "We are now seeing the second generation of guests experiencing the same great food and hospitality that their parents have enjoyed at Hardee's for nearly 30 years."
CKE Restaurants announced the opening of its 300th international restaurant in Sept. 2008 and have strategic development plans to double its international presence to more than 600 restaurants within the next five years. Currently international units comprise approximately 10% of the CKE system with plans to grow to 20% by 2014. In its most recent fiscal year ended January 28, 2008, the company opened 50 new international franchise restaurants; the highest one-year total in the company's history.
Americana is the Middle East's most successful group of companies operating consumer foods, restaurants, and food-related products. This amazing success story started out in Kuwait in 1964 with the establishment of a small trading company, which then opened its first restaurant (Wimpy) in 1970. This was the region's first experience with international chain restaurants and was the beginning of Americana's rapid expansion in this field. This was followed with the establishment of the first meat processing plant in 1972 to cater for the restaurants' growing demand. With time, more Americana restaurants, food companies, factories, and brands were established and a high growth rate was always maintained. Today, the Americana Group operates more than 1,000 restaurants with more than 35,000 employees across 17 countries between the Atlantic Ocean and Caspian Sea. The Americana Group operates international franchises like Hardee's, TGIF's, Krispy Kreme, KFC and Pizza Hut. The Americana Group's portfolio also includes a wide range of consumer foods manufactured in 18 factories in 5 different countries and marketed across the region with well-known names like Americana Meat, Americana Cake, Farm Frites, California Garden, Heinz, Koki, Green Land and much more.
Headquartered in Carpinteria, Calif., CKE Restaurants, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CKR." As of the second fiscal quarter ended August 11, 2008, CKE Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,100 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 14 countries, including 1,170 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,917 Hardee's restaurants.
Source: CKE Restaurants, Inc.