Describing the Carl’s Jr.-Hardee’s Line

The worst thing about moving to Pittsburgh is that it’s on the wrong side of the line.

Bright yellow is Carl's, the lighter one is Hardee's.

If you’re not aware, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are owned by the same company. As such, you don’t find both restaurants in the same market. It’s hard to say how they’ve determined who gets what market in some cases. Obviously there’s historical precedent (Carl’s originated in California and had mostly just California stores until some time in the 90’s, frex), but in the areas where neither chain had much of a presence… yeah, it’s like they just drew a line.

Three areas of non-clarity: one in SW Montana/SE Idaho/NW Wyoming (which chain does Jackson get?!), one in Western Kansas/Nebraska (which chain does, um, you know, that big city in western Nebraska get?!), and one in Southeast Texas (Houston).

Also if you’re not aware, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s do not have similar menus (aside from both serving hamburgers). They *do*, however, have identical marketing and branding materials — they run the same TV commercials for both, only they have a photo of a different hamburger at the end. Their websites are almost identical (again with the burger photo swapped out). Same star at both locations, same “Six-Dollar” nomenclature (attached to different burgers), etc.

It’s kind of irritating. Here’s the crux of it: why should it never be possible for someone living east of The Line to order a Western Bacon Cheeseburger? Seriously. Just put it on Hardee’s’s menu, it’ll be all right.

It’s also kind of weird to overlay this map with Jack-in-the-Box locations. If you look at the Hardee’s menu, it bears a striking resemblance to Jack-in-the-Box. And with a few exceptions, Jack-in-the-Box’s map almost perfectly overlays Carl’s Jr. and makes very few incursions across the line into Hardee’s territory.

Anyway. I’m going to miss the Western Bacon Cheeseburger. Here’s hoping Carl Karcher Enterprises comes to its senses.



  • Christopher Bigelow

    Growing up in So. Cal., I was in a Jack-in-the-Box family, and to me, Carl’s Jr. was an exclusive, magical place where we didn’t go because it must have been too good and expensive for us. I still feel a little twinge of deprived longing when I see a Carl’s Jr, even though I now know that I don’t like the food.

    When Hardee’s was here in Utah prior to the Carl’s Jr. switch, I used to regularly get a burger at the one in downtown SLC. But I’ve never been a regular customer of any Carl’s Jr.

  • bkdunn

    LOL. Carl’s Jr. was the single biggest reason I moved to SoCal in the first place.

    Since then I’ve curbed my beef fat intake somewhat.