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Carl's Jr. Crosses the Border with New Jalapeño Burgers

Jan 11, 2006

American Palate Warms Up to Hotter Fare

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - January 11 - Taking advantage of Americans' increasing taste for hot, spicy foods, Carl's Jr.® is introducing the new Jalapeño Burger™, registering high on both heat and flavor. The burger is also the chain's first to be introduced in three sizes: as a classic Six Dollar Burger™ featuring almost a half-pound of 100 percent Angus beef, or as smaller single or double versions.

"Not that long ago the idea of making a burger with jalapeños on it would have been rejected because of its limited appeal," said Brad Haley, Carl's Jr. executive vice president of marketing. "But things have changed dramatically in a fairly short time. Salsa is America's favorite condiment, surpassing ketchup several years ago now, and Carl's Jr. has found success in recent years with a variety of spicy burgers, chicken sandwiches and breakfast burritos, so the time seemed right."

The chain also realized there was specific interest in a jalapeño burger in part because restaurant employees observed customers topping their burgers with jalapeños from the restaurants' salsa bars, creating their own makeshift versions of a burger with bite.

"But it isn't just about the heat," added Haley. "Any burger also has to taste great to make it on our menu and this one is awesome. In addition to a generous helping of pickled jalapeños, the burgers are made with pepperjack cheese and our famous, creamy-yet-zesty Santa Fe sauce."

Exotic flavors are an increasingly popular aspect of the multicultural United States. With a large part of the country bordered by Mexico and an estimated 40 million people of Latino descent living in the United States, a natural permeation of "spicier" flavors and preferences has peppered its way into American culture. One aspect of this cultural exposure is the phenomenon of familiar American foods spiced up with innovative new flavors, which has resulted in one of the fastest growing culinary trends across the country, Nuevo Latino or "New Latin" cuisine. With its new Jalapeño Burgers, Carl's Jr. is leading the charge in the quick-service industry to tap into consumer demand for American foods with spicier flavors.

The Jalapeño Burgers are charbroiled, like all Carl's Jr. burgers, and topped with sliced jalapeños, pepperjack cheese, tangy Santa Fe sauce, sliced onion, tomato and lettuce on a seeded bun. Participating Carl's Jr. restaurants will offer the Jalapeño Burger at a suggested retail price of $2.79 for the single, $3.79 for the double and $4.59 for The Jalapeño Six Dollar Burger™.

Carl's Jr. is a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: CKR) of Carpinteria, Calif. As of the third fiscal quarter ended Nov. 7, 2005, CKE Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,163 franchised or company-owned restaurants in 43 states and in 13 countries, including 1,042 Carl's Jr. restaurants, 2,004 Hardee's® restaurants and 101 La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill® restaurants. For more information, or to find a Carl's Jr. near you, go to www.ckr.com or www.carlsjr.com.

Photo of the Jalapeño Burger available upon request.