As the economy has tightened up and competition has put the squeeze on businesses, we’ve seen franchises in the quick-service restaurant sector really get ruthless in trying to attract new customers. This year, we’ve already had the coffee wars and we’re about to witness an exciting new front in fast-food competition: the burger wars.
Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., which are both owned by CKE Restaurants, Inc, have announced they will be taking on the world’s #1 Global franchise, McDonald’s, in September. Their plan is simple. They are offering any customer a mail-in rebate if they honestly believe the McDonald’s Angus Burder tastes better than the Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Angus Burger or a $3.49 Hardee's Angus Thickburger.
"After they so blatantly copied our burgers, we felt it was fair play," Andrew Puzder of CKE told the Wall Street Journal.
It’s an interesting tactic. If beef is the only issue at stake here, then the CKE franchises have a valid argument to consumers: The Big Carl, for instance, boasts more than twice the amount of beef compared to its Goldern Arches rival.
But the competition is tight. The WSJ reported that “combined same-store sales at its two burger chains declined 3.6% in the four weeks ended Aug. 10.” Clearly Hardee’s and Carl Jr. feel the need to fight back against McDonald’s, so much so that “one day next month, the company will park a Carl's Jr. mobile diner outside McDonald's restaurants in Los Angeles and offer to swap McDonald's customers' Big Macs for Big Carls.”
The problem for these franchises is that they’re competing with the world’s #1 Global Franchise. We’ll be watching the burger wars closely over the coming weeks and we’re curious what McDonald’s next salvo will be.