American fast outlet Carl's Jr is coming to Australia, although you won't be able to find it in Sydney -- or any other capital city -- straight away. A store on the Central Coast of New South Wales will be the business's Australian beachhead, with a total of 10 franchises on the central, mid and northern NSW coast already locked in. Capital cities are in Carl's sights, but nothing has been signed off just yet.
Carl's Jr is a 70 year old fast food chain; the predecessor to the first Carl's Jr store was a hot dog cart opened by Carl Karcher and his wife Margaret in Anaheim, California in 1941, although the first store proper opened in 1954. The marque is famous for its Original Six Dollar Thickburger, a 400-gram, 950 calorie monster.
No date has been confirmed for the first store's grand opening, but won't be far away. There have been 15 Carl's Jr stores in New Zealand since 2011, but this is the first time the franchise has confirmed an expansion into Australia. The initial commitment of 10 stores already makes Carl's Jr Australia larger than most of the business's other international locations; China and Canada only have 6 and 8 Carl's Jr stores respectively. According to the brand, an "ambitious expansion" of up to 300 stores over the next 10-15 years is on the cards -- franchisees are being sought for capital city locations.
"We've been looking at Australia for the last couple years," said Michael Woida, Senior Vice President, International at CKE Restaurants (Carl's Junior), speaking with Gizmodo. "We see a gap in the current quick service category amongst existing players.
We feel Carl's Jr. will be pretty well differentiated here with our signature line of 'Angus thick' burgers, made-to-order chicken sandwiches, hand-scooped shakes and partial table service -- order at the counter, get your beverage cup and sit down for meals brought to you in 3 or 4 minutes."
The Carl's Jr target market is very clear: according to the brand's parent company CKE Restaurants, Carl's "is well-loved among 18- to 30-year-old young, hungry guys." Australian burger prices will apparently range between $6 and $8 for a regular serving, and the standard meals -- fries and a fountain drink on the side -- will be available as well.
Carl's Jr has a reputation for particularly raunchy advertising -- an ad was banned in New Zealand just before the brand's 2011 launch, apparently bringing some much-needed extra exposure. We can't wait to see what they have planned for Aussie TV.