Carl's Jr. | Expansion

US burger chain seeks German master franchisee

Carl's Jr. plans to enter the German market.
Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr. plans to enter the German market.

Carl's Jr. is pushing the expansion of its quick service restaurants in Europe. In particular, the German market is in focus with the search for a master franchisee. Membership in the German Franchise Association is now intended to help build the network and find partners.

With 80 years of experience in the QSR industry, Carl's Jr. is known for its charcoal-grilled burgers. Parent company CKE Restaurants, headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, which also operates the Hardee's QSR chain, already has more than 1,000 international restaurants in 40 markets worldwide and plans to double that number in the next five years.

With 79 restaurants already in France, Spain, Denmark, Turkey and Russia, CKE Restaurants has a strong EU-based team to support further expansion in the key growth market of Europe. After all, according to a recent study by Market Data Forecast, the European fast food market will be worth $17 billion by the end of 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 6% between 2021 and 2026.

To achieve this, entry into Germany - one of the most important markets in the region alongside the UK, Spain and France - is a key objective. As such, the Carl's Jr. team is actively seeking a master franchisee for Germany. This, along with joining the German Franchise Association, is a crucial step in finding the right partner to accompany Carl's Jr. on its growth path.

"Famous Star" is what Carl's Jr. calls one of his bestsellers.
Carl's Jr.
"Famous Star" is what Carl's Jr. calls one of his bestsellers.

"We are very pleased to have joined the German Franchise Association as we look to accelerate our growth across Europe, with a particular focus on the German market," said Tim Lowther, General Manager EMEA at Carl's Jr. "The German Franchise Association is a key component in our entry into the German market and will help us build our network in this region. Above all, the numerous benefits and opportunities the association offers us made us want to seek admission."

"In the'Franchise from Abroad' category, we specifically offer franchise systems that are already established as a brand in their home country and internationally a platform to enter the German market. We are delighted that Carl's Jr, our latest entrant, is using us as a partner for its internationalization strategy," explains Torben Leif Brodersen, Chief Executive Officer of Deutscher Franchiseverband e.V.

'Breaking new ground in taste'

Carl's Jr. itself credits its restaurants with "lively atmosphere, unconventionality and coolness" - making the brand "a new business opportunity for investors." Decorated in California lifestyle design, the QSR chain addresses the younger generation in particular. But Carl's Jr. also says it is breaking new ground in taste, combining ingredients in unexpected ways in its burgers - from sauces to toppings.
About CKE Restaurants Holdings

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (CKE), a privately held company based in Franklin, Tennessee, operates Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, two regional brands known for menus such as "100 Percent Black Angus Thickburgers," "Made from Scratch Biscuits" and "Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders." Carl's Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee's Restaurants LLC have more than 3,900 restaurants in 44 states and 40 other countries and U.S. territories. Most are franchised or company-operated. For more information, visit, and

The menu, which includes Hand-Breaded Chicken Sandwiches & Tenders or Hand-Scooped Milkshakes, is constantly changing with regional adaptations. This culinary creativity, in tandem with traditions such as charcoal grilling, is what makes Carl's Jr. special. The chain sets itself apart from its competitors by offering table service in the restaurant - in addition to drive-in or takeaway options. The company uses the latest technology to make the ordering process as easy and convenient as possible for customers, whether through an app, chatbot, social media or direct delivery, and to meet their needs no matter where they are.

Although the brand has the resources of a large company, it credits itself with the agility of a start-up. Dedicated support teams in the region, supply chain systems for rapid growth and a scalable operational system are all available - all backed by detailed data and insights, it says. On the product side, the innovation team is constantly developing new and affordable menus that meet both the Carl's Jr. tradition and the taste preferences of local markets.