CARPINTERIA, Calif. – Carl’s Jr.’s first restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand has opened, CKE Restaurants Inc. announced. This is the first of many such restaurants CKE plans to open in New Zealand over the next five years.

The newest restaurant is operated by Forsgren NZ Limited, a family business owned by Carl’s Jr. operator Barry Forsgren and Michael Jones, a former star of New Zealand’s national rugby team.

“New Zealand is a great market for CKE’s continued international growth and a good fit for the Carl’s Jr. brand,” said Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. “Forsgren NZ’s expertise in the market, understanding of customer satisfaction and commitment to premium quality in all aspects of the business should prove to be a successful combination in our newest market.”

Within the next five years, CKE Restaurants has strategic development plans to double its international presence to more than 700 restaurants. International units currently comprise approximately 12 percent of the CKE system with plans to grow to 20 percent in the next five years.

As of the end of Q1 fiscal 2012, CKE, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,182 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 23 countries, including 1,262 Carl’s Jr. restaurants and 1,909 Hardee’s restaurants.