Carl's Jr.®

Fast Food Goes Upscale with New Portobello Mushroom Six Dollar Burger

Sep 28, 2005

Guests Get Gourmet Fare, Fast-Food Value

CARPINTERIA, Calif. – September 28, 2005 – Beginning today, Carl's Jr.® gives burger lovers a new reason to skip the dinner jacket and go for the drive-thru — The Portobello Mushroom Six Dollar Burger™. The newest addition to the popular Six Dollar Burger line features high-quality Portobello mushrooms sliced and sautéed with garlic and parsley. The "five-star" mushroom sauce tops a ½-pound, 100 percent Angus beef patty complemented by melted Swiss cheese, sliced red onions, juicy tomato, and crisp lettuce on a seeded bun.

Carl's Jr. was one of the pioneers of the growing fast-food trend of "going upscale," with the introduction of its original Six Dollar Burger™ more than four years ago, so named because it rivaled the quality of sit-down restaurant burgers costing six dollars or more. That product was eventually joined by other chains' premium salads and sandwiches bearing elegant names and exotic ingredients that previously would have been unheard of at fast-food restaurants.

"Carl's Jr. recognized many years ago that consumers' tastes were changing and that they were enjoying and appreciating higher-quality foods than ever before," said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing at Carl's Jr. "They just couldn't get them at fast-food restaurants. This was what prompted us to create the industry's first sit-down restaurant quality hamburger, The Six Dollar Burger, in 2001. Since then, we've expanded the Six Dollar Burger line with five additional premium-quality options, each one made with ½-pound charbroiled Angus beef patties. Now, with The Portobello Mushroom Six Dollar Burger, we've taken mushroom burgers to a level never before reached on a fast-food menu."

Portobello mushrooms – large, tawny, meaty, and plump – are considered the ultimate in gourmet produce. Portobellos, often referred to as the "vegetarian steak" for their beefy flavor, can be grilled, stuffed or baked. They are chefs' mushrooms of choice in most high-end dining establishments.

"Our menu development team is continuously on the hunt for high-quality, great-tasting ingredients that will work well on our burgers or chicken sandwiches," said Haley. "These dedicated men and women have fun jobs and love a challenge. So, when we gave them the task of developing the best mushroom burger in fast food, they jumped at the chance and The Portobello Mushroom Six Dollar Burger was born. In fact, the Portobello mushroom sauce is so delicious, it's even great on pasta – but it's awesome on a burger."

The Portobello Mushroom Six Dollar Burger will sell for $4.79 at participating restaurants – or $6.59 as part of a combo meal.

Carl's Jr. is a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: CKR) of Carpinteria, Calif. As of the second fiscal quarter ended August 15, 2005, CKE Restaurants, Inc., through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,159 franchised or company-owned restaurants in 43 states and in 13 countries, including 1,032 Carl's Jr. restaurants, 2,011 Hardee's® restaurants and 100 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.