The casual fast food diner could be forgiven for thinking that Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are virtually indistinguishable. They have the same logos and nearly identical menus, yet for certain people hailing from certain geographical areas, the slight differences between the two inspire a level of outsized loyalty inversely proportional to the actual differences between the two chains.
This is all the more surprising considering that Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. aren’t separate chains at all, but differently branded versions of the same restaurant, owned by the same company. Luckily, geographer Nik Freeman is here with a helpful map illustrating the exact nature of the Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s divide along with a fascinating history and analysis of how this came to be. (Long story short: Hardee’s serves more rural populations and the backlash when Carl’s Jr.’s parent company bought them out caused them to keep the names separate.) Let the healing begin.