Why You'll Never Find A Hardee's In Canada

In 1960, Wilber Hardee founded what would later become one of the most popular fast food chains in the U.S. Opened in Greenville, North Carolina, Hardee's primarily sold hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes (via Hardee's). The menu expanded over the years, along with the number of locations.

By the 1970s, more than 200 Hardee's restaurants were serving sandwiches, shakes, and other items, including the Made From Scratch Biscuits and Roast Beef Sandwich, per the chain's official website. This expansion trend continued throughout the next few decades, bringing the total number of restaurants to nearly 4,000 franchises, as well as company-owned restaurants in 44 states and 43 countries and U.S. territories, according to the Hardee's Fact Sheet.

Germany, Kuwait, and North Africa are just a few of the places where you can find a Hardee's restaurant, but one place you won't find Hardee's is in Canada. This isn't because Hardee had something against the country or its inhabitants — after all, FrontierCanada claims Canada is known to visitors for its politeness and beautiful scenery. Instead, the reason you'll never find a Hardee's in Canada is due to controversy involving the name of the restaurant (via Money Inc.).

Canada already has a popular restaurant similar to Hardee's

Just one year before the first Hardee's opened in the U.S., a restaurant named Harvey's opened in Canada, according to National Post. Harvey's has always prided itself on being Canadian-owned and operated and is now known for its charbroiled burgers, cooked on an open-flame grill (via Harvey's). It's also one of the country's longest-standing Canadian businesses, according to InsideHalton.com.

Harvey's lists about 300 locations throughout Canada, and The Top Tens ranked Harvey's the third most-loved eatery in the country, beating McDonald's, KFC, and Wendy's. Customers on the site rave about the burgers and freedom to choose your own toppings.

As the similar-sounding Hardee's restaurants continued to expand in the U.S. and beyond, the chain hit a wall when it came to expanding toward its neighbors to the north. According to Money Inc., Canadians believed that the similarity in the names and products would be an issue. This is why the Hardee's name can't be used anywhere in Canada, but Hardee's responded to the drawback by sending its sister restaurant to bat.

Hardee's and Carl's Jr. are sibling restaurants

If you've ever been to a Hardee's or a Carl's Jr. restaurant, you've probably noticed the similarities between the two – and there's a reason for that. In 1941, husband-and-wife team Carl and Margaret Karcher purchased a hot dog cart in Los Angeles, California, and sold hot dogs, as noted by the Carl's Jr. official website. By the 1950s, their business had evolved from a sole, simple cart into a full-service restaurant called Carl's Jr.; over a decade later, it became a legal corporation in 1966, per the CKE Restaurants archives. Carl's Jr. later became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the new parent company, CKE Restaurants, Inc., in 1994 (via Reference for Business).

According to the Los Angeles Times, CKE purchased Hardee's in 1997 and subsequently made changes to both chains. Consumer Reports disclosed that Carl's Jr. and Hardees share an almost identical menu and branding elements, including the famous "Happy Star" logo. So when Canada rejected Hardee's, CKE partnered with Jove Franchise Development Corporation to open a chain of Carl's Jr. restaurants instead. The first Canadian location opened in 2011 in Kelowna, British Columbia (via Business Wire). Today, you'll find nearly two dozen Carl's Jr. locations throughout Canada.