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2 Carl’s Jr. franchisees file for bankruptcy protection

Two franchisee entities of Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Arizona filed for bankruptcy protection Monday. These were the second notable Valley restaurant failures within a week and attest to tough competition in the industry.

Guadalupe-based Frontier Star LLC and Frontier Star CJ LLC filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, listing more than $10 million apiece in debts. Three grandchildren of Carl Karcher, founder of the fast-food chain, are owners of the entities, including Jason LeVecke, who is listed as chief executive officer/manager of both.

Last November, the Frontier Star entities announced plans to hire more than 1,000 people in Arizona for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s outlets, citing rapid growth.

The bankruptcy filings didn’t say how many Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s restaurants in Arizona are affected. But the LeVecke siblings, including Carl and Margaret, had more than 130 Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s franchises in seven states and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as of late 2013, according to an Arizona Republic article that announced the grand opening of a new sports-themed Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Glendale.

Calls to the franchise owners, to their Phoenix attorney and to CKE Restaurants were not returned.

CKE Restaurants, in Carpinteria, Calif., is the privately held parent company of more than 1,300 Carl’s Jr. and 1,900 Hardee’s outlets in 42 states.

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