The western fast food chain Carl’s Jr. opened its first branch in New York City on Tuesday. The restaurant is located in Coney Island between the Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue station and the West Eighth Street–New York Aquarium station. Another branch of the restaurant will be opening across from Penn Station on January 31. The restaurant will be situated next door to a McDonald’s at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and 33rd Street.
Carl’s Jr. has been largely confined to the western and southwestern United States until recent years. They have lately begun to expand into the southern and northeastern United States. In 2016, they moved their headquarters to Franklin, Tennessee. In 2017, the restaurant opened locations in Somerset, New Jersey and Middletown, New York. They also moved into Lake Katrine, New York in September.
Known for giant cheeseburgers and charbroiled burgers, the fast food chain was founded by Carl Karcher and his wife Margaret in Los Angeles in 1941. The company began as a humble hot dog cart, but the couple soon opened restaurants throughout Southern California. During the 1980s, Carl’s Jr. spread throughout the West Coast. After the death of Karcher’s brother Don, the company began to acquire other restaurant chains like Hardee’s and Green Burrito. During the 2000s, they launched advertising campaigns featuring scantily clad models suggestively eating burgers. The company was heavily criticized for their commercials and eventually transitioned to less controversial ads in 2017.
The expansion of Carl’s Jr. echoes similar growth throughout the fast food industry. The country’s top fast food chains experienced 3% growth in 2017. Globally, the fast food industry adds almost $540 billion to the economy every year. Within the United States, the fast food industry is worth around $200 billion. Fueled by impatient consumers and rising costs at sit-down restaurants, fast food sales are on the rise. Top fast food chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have recently expanded their dollar menus to appeal to thrifty consumer