75 years of Carl’s Jr.: How Carl Karcher created a better burger and viral sensations before their time
CARL’S JR. HISTORY
1937: Carl Karcher moves from Ohio to Anaheim and works at his uncle’s feed and seed store. Returns home in August 1938.
1939: Returns to California and works as a bread wrapper for Armstrong Bakery in Los Angeles. He marries Margaret Magdalen Heinz Nov. 30, 1939.
1941: Karcher and his wife move to L.A. and purchase a hot dog cart for $326; they mortgaged their Plymouth Super Deluxe for $311 and put up $15 cash to finance the business.
1945: On Jan. 16, Carl’s Drive-In Barbecue opens in Anaheim. First day sales were $77.64.
1956: Karcher expands the business by opening the first two Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Anaheim and Brea.
1968: Carl’s Jr. launched a major expansion, building new restaurants featuring used-brick interiors, tiled roofs, carpeted dining rooms and cushioned seats – all innovations in the fast-food industry.
1969: The Carl’s Jr. at 275 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim opens Dec. 2. It is now the oldest restaurant in the chain. It was rebuilt about a year ago.
1980: Carl names his brother, Donald F. Karcher, his successor as president and chief operating officer of the company.
1981: With 300 restaurants, CKE became a publicly held company; its shares traded on Wall Street until it was acquired in 2010 by Columbia Lake Acquisition Holdings, an affiliate of Apollo Management.
2006: Margaret Karcher dies at 91. On July 17, the Karcher family celebrates the company’s 65th anniversary.
2007: On Jan. 16, Karcher and his late wife received the second star on the Anaheim/Orange County Walk of Stars. The first was Walt Disney.
2008: Karcher dies at age 90.
2013: Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, closes a deal to purchase CKE Restaurants from Apollo Management.
2016: CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., announces plan to relocate its Carpinteria headquarters to Nashville, Tenn. Auxiliary corporate offices in Anaheim, which has 246 employees, will remain.