What’s the Difference Between Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.?

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s signs and menus look exactly alike—down to that cheery little star—but are they the same restaurant owned by someone who couldn’t decide on a name, or is the discrepancy the result of a turf war (à la the borders dividing Hellmann’s/Best Foods mayonnaise territory)?

The two burger chains started out as totally separate entities, one in the West and one in the East. Carl’s Jr. is the elder statesman of the two, founded as a Los Angeles hot dog stand in 1941 by Carl Karcher. Business thrived, and five years later there were five full-sized Carl’s Drive-In Barbecue restaurants, which by then had begun serving hamburgers. Before long, burgers were the chain’s bestselling menu item, so Karcher decided to open a separate group of small, quick-service burger joints (similar to today’s McDonald’s Express), dubbing them Carl’s Jr. 

In the ‘90s, Karcher’s partnership, CKE Restaurants, set its sights on another hamburger chain. Wilbur Hardee had opened his first restaurant in North Carolina in 1961; soon Hardee’s became a familiar fast food sight in the Midwest and South. Hardee’s corporate strategy was to open restaurants in smaller towns that were not served by McDonald’s or Burger King, and by all accounts, it paid off: by the early '90s, there were over 2,500 Hardee's locations, making it the country's fourth-largest fast food chain. 

Acquiring Hardee’s (for $327 million!) in 1997 was an opportunity for Carl’s Jr. to quietly expand into the East without agitating Hardee’s existing customers. They kept the name and, at first, the menu that folks were familiar with (it wasn't until the early aughts that they started to introduce Carl’s menu items to Hardee’s locations), and refurbished the existing buildings and signage. 

See Also: Hamburger Chain Locations Across the U.S.

The map above was designed by Chloe Effron and is based on this map by Gage Skidmore. Update (2016): Hardee's now has stores in New Jersey and New York.

Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

You Can Make Baby Yoda’s Favorite Blue Cookies at Home

© LUCASFILM
© LUCASFILM

Season 2 of The Mandalorian has revealed some important plot elements, but fans of the Star Wars series are still asking one question: What were those little blue cookies Baby Yoda ate in episode four? While you can't hitch a ride to the planet Nevarro to find out, you can now bake your own version of the snack at home, A.V. Club reports.

Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau recently teamed up with Binging With Babish’s Andrew Rea to adapt the intergalactic recipe for Earth kitchens. Baby Yoda (a.k.a. The Child, a.k.a. Grogu) has an adventurous appetite, but these aqua-blue cookies may be the most delicious-looking thing he eats on the show.

Favreau revealed that the cookies used on set were basically blue-raspberry macarons. Rea recreates two versions of the snack: traditional French macarons with bright-blue food coloring, and a simpler, Nilla wafer-like confection that's easier to make. You can follow along with both recipes in the video below.

If you're not interested in making Baby Yoda's cookies from scratch, you can also buy Nevarro Nummies from Williams Sonoma for $50. Here are more products celebrating season 2 of The Mandalorian.

[h/t A.V. Club]