Carl's Jr. opens first restaurant in Vietnam

by Bryan Salvage
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CARPINTERIA, CALIF. — The first Carl’s Jr. restaurant was opened in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam this week by CKE Restaurants Inc. This marks the first of at least 25 Carl’s Jr. units to be opened in Vietnam over the next six years and is the first major Western quick-service hamburger chain to open in the market.

Mesa Asia Pacific Trading Services Company Limited, whose parent is a holding company specializing in consumer goods distribution, restaurant operations, media and real estate development, will manage these restaurants.

CKE’s entry into the Vietnam market is part of a strategic plan to accelerate franchise development in international markets and grow its system. The 25 restaurant development deal is part of a greater development plan that CKE Restaurants has for Asia. In addition to existing operations in China, Singapore, Malaysia, American Samoa and Vietnam, CKE plans to enter Indonesia later this year after recently signing a commitment agreement with PT Fortune Foods Limited to open 25 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“The growth in the Vietnamese consumer market is truly remarkable and we wanted to take this opportunity along with the Mesa Group to employee a ‘first-mover’ strategy in our segment,” said Andrew F. Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc. “In this regard, we are happy to introduce real, American-style charbroiled burgers to the market.”

CKE currently franchises 342 international restaurants between both its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands. The company has strategic development plans to double its International presence within the next five years.

As of the end of fiscal year 2010, CKE Restaurants Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,147 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 14 countries, including 1,221 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,913 Hardee's restaurants.
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