Carpinteria, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a move to surpass both the competition and its own already highly ranked quality, service and cleanliness attribute ratings, CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:CKR) announced today that it is upgrading and improving its current management training by instituting Star Academy training centers for its Carl's Jr.(R) and Hardee's(R) restaurant chains. In addition, the Company is upgrading and improving its current restaurant level employee training by rolling out a Web-based Learning Management System designed to improve, simplify, standardize and more effectively measure in restaurant training for its employees. In support of significant system-wide anticipated growth, the company will also provide both its domestic and international franchisees with access to Star Academy training and the Web-based Learning Management System.
Based at Carl's Jr.'s headquarters in Carpinteria, Calif., and Hardee's headquarters in St. Louis, the Star Academy training centers significantly upgrade the already effective and accessible training centers is those offices. In moving the current training centers to the next level, Star Academy will take an MBA-style approach, providing extensive management level instructional classroom development and training for both brands. The Academies will offer a full complement of courses for field operations management, centered on business planning and including, coaching, communication, time management, understanding leadership styles and career pathing.
The Web-based Learning Management System will provide expanded and standardized in store restaurant training and accountability both domestically and internationally. The training will focus on all aspects of working in Carl's Jr. or Hardee's restaurants, including quality assurance, guest service, food quality, cleanliness, friendliness, and drive thru service. The courses will be available at any time the employee chooses on the Internet and in the restaurant. As individuals log on and take the offered courses, the restaurant General Manager and the Training Department will have a record of who has completed which courses and who needs to take or retake them.
Star Academy and the Web-based Learning Management System will work in tandem to improve effectiveness, courtesy and friendliness while providing the training for management level promotional opportunities to every employee with the desire and the ability to succeed.
Both brands already rank at or near the top with respect to the attribute ratings most important to consumers; namely, food quality, taste, temperature, cleanliness friendliness and accuracy. It is the company's intention to take its customer service as well as its management and employee training at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's to a new level for the industry.
Andrew F. Puzder, CEO for CKE Restaurants, stated that "In 2000, when our management team took over, Carl's Jr. had very respectable attribute ratings for food quality, taste, temperature, cleanliness, friendliness and accuracy when compared to its major fast food competitors. Hardee's attribute ratings were unacceptable. We implemented our original training program, Operation QSC (Quality, Service, and Cleanliness) within the first six months at Hardee's and subsequently at Carl's Jr. We saw meaningful improvements. In 2003 -4, we introduced Operation QSC, Phase II, Six Dollar Service, which we implemented in our restaurants and in our brand training centers.
"Based on these programs, both brands improved in each of the six key attribute ratings and moved to the top or near the top as measured against their major competitors with respect to each attribute. The improvement at Hardee's was particularly impressive as Hardee's moved from last or close to last to first or close to first with respect to each attribute.
"Our Star Academy training centers and Web-based Learning Management System are the next logical steps in our drive to continue improving on these key attributes and on our guests' experiences in our restaurants," Puzder continued. "Over the past two years we have accelerated company new store development as well as both domestic and international franchise development. In 2008 alone, we signed 20 new franchise development agreements to build 380 restaurants, including 236 domestic restaurants and 144 international restaurants. As the Company continues to build new units and endeavors to effectively support our domestic and international franchise growth, updated, standardized, effective and accessible training is essential. By ensuring our Carl's Jr. and Hardee's staff have the management tools to excel, our guests worldwide will ultimately benefit.
"In 2007, we promoted Noah Griggs from EVP of Operations at Hardee's to EVP of Training for both brands. Star Academy and the Learning Management System are a result of Noah working with our operators, principally our EVPs of Operations at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, Rick Fortman and Bob Starke, and our franchisees, to assure that we remain an industry leader in this area," Puzder concluded.
Neither the Star Academy nor the Learning Management System will result in an increase in contemplated capital spending as the Company has already either incurred the associated expense or budgeted for it in the previously announced amended capital plan.
Headquartered in Carpinteria, Calif., CKE Restaurants, Inc. is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CKR." As of the third fiscal quarter ended November 3, 2008, CKE Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,110 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 14 countries, including 1,185 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,912 Hardee's restaurants.
Source: CKE Restaurants, Inc.