Mexico, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Zona Rosa, Calle Genova, pedestrian mall promenade, Carl's Jr. restaurant. (Photo by:  Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
When Did Carl's Jr. And Hardee's 'Break Up?'
By Chase Shustack
If you've been to either Carl's Jr. or Hardee's (or even both!), you may notice striking similarities between the two hamburger joints. Carl's Jr. acquired the Hardee's brand in 1997, merging what were once two separate companies into one distinct, almost shockingly similar entity, but years later, these companies suddenly "broke up."
In 2018, Hardee's tried to distance itself from Carl's Jr.'s "provocative" advertising, which featured Kate Upton in a bikini while eating giant hamburgers (via FOX news). In contrast to Carl's Jr.'s racy ads, Hardee's tried to focus more on being "wholesome," aiming to build an image of "America's Heartland," or a cleaner and more "authentic" image (via USA Today).
It's not so much that Carl's Jr. and Hardee's "split up" in the sense that they were going their separate ways, but instead, they were trying to focus on different demographics. While both companies may have "split" regarding how they do things, they still seem to balance each other despite their differences.