CARPINTERIA, CALIF. – CKE Restaurants Inc. has made two franchise agreements that will add 31 Carl’s Jr. restaurants to Texas over the next nine years.

Frontera Star Foods has committed to opening 20 units in the Laredo, Brownsville, McAllen and Harlingen areas in Southeast Texas. The second franchisee, Burger Barons, has agreed to open 11 units throughout the Waco, Killeen, Temple, College Station and Bryan, Texas communities.

“Texas continues to be a priority for CKE’s expansion and we are proud to have two strong franchise entities join us in the Lone Star state,” said Andrew F. Puzder, chief executive officer, CKE Restaurants Inc. “As our unit count in Texas grows, so does the demand for our big, delicious burgers. In fact, the November opening in Leon Valley, Texas, was the highest-grossing first week in the history of the company. I hope we see that record change hands a few more times this year.”

Carl’s Jr. has seen significant expansion in Texas over the past year for both the franchise community and the company. There are currently 34 Carl’s Jr. restaurants open in Texas (27 franchised, 7 company-owned), with an additional 352 units (252 franchise, 100 company) planned over the coming decade. On average, a new Carl’s Jr. restaurant employs 70 full- and part-time crew members, translating to more than 24,000 new jobs.

CKE has put a priority on expanding in Texas and Washington state, Beth Mansfield, director, public relations, CKE Restaurants Inc., told

“We are in 13 Western States but have the highest concentration of our units in California, which has been hit hard by the recession,” she added. “Texas has not seen the same level of unemployment and foreclosures as California has seen. Texas is also far more business-friendly than California, which has a higher minimum wage and tax structure.

“The ground beef suppliers will be the same for the new franchise units as our current franchise- and company-owned units in Texas and the rest of our markets.”

As of the end of its fiscal 2010 third quarter, 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.