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Ben covers the property industry and has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and travel writing. He speaks Mandarin and previously covered housing and urban affairs for The Australian Financial Review.

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Would you like swimsuit models with that? US burger chain Carl’s Jr targets Australia

Published 19 February 2013 11:42, Updated 20 February 2013 07:31

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Would you like swimsuit models with that? US burger chain Carl’s Jr targets Australia

Yep, it’s a burger ad. Model Nina Agdal chomps on a Carl’s Jr Charbroiled Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich in this screenshot from one of the company’s advertisements. Photo: Carl’s Jr

Politically incorrect American burger group Carl’s Jr plans to set up more than 300 stores around Australia over the next decade, and hopes to open the first by the end of this year.

The global gourmet burger giant is seeking franchise partners to help it launch locally, believing its ads featuring scantily-clad celebrities will resonate with young Australian men.

Carl’s Jr sits with burger company Hardee’s under parent company CKE Restaurants. Similarly branded, they have a combined 3500 stores globally throughout the Middle East, Russia, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific.

Franchise consultancy DC Strategy helped Carl’s establish in New Zealand about three years ago, where it now has eight stores under a single franchisee. Public company Restaurant Brands New Zealand, which has the rights for KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks in New Zealand, has also put its hand up to roll out some Carl’s stores.

“Particularly now they have stores in New Zealand, the transition to Australia is a much easier transition than coming straight from America,” says DC Strategy consultant Ben Hemphill.

“There are a large number of companies that have tried to come from America to Australia, such as Taco Bell, which try to replicate the same model and it falls flat on its face.”

He says Carl’s burgers are more gourmet than McDonald’s and they “actually look like those on the menu board”. They are targeted squarely at 18-34-year-old men who, in the United States, visit a quick-service restaurant an average of 15 times a month.

The company also has some relatively nutritional offerings such as its low-carb burger, which uses lettuce leaves instead of a bun.

“The [franchisees] they’re looking for will need to open a minimum of five stores each,” Hemphill says. “They’re not looking for your mum and dad investor, they want people who have the experience running food service businesses or having property in that area.”