Recently, CKE received an award from the International Franchise Association for supporting men and women in uniform thru our annual Stars for Heroes fundraising campaign which has raised more than $3.5 million since 2011.  We’re proud to support worthwhile initiatives like this one. It’s the right thing to do.

I accepted the award on behalf of our company and our Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s franchisees who partner with us to raise the money in our restaurants. Robert Pence, a board member with the Gary Sinise Foundation, which we supported with a contribution earlier this year, also joined me on stage during the Franchising Gives Back Awards presentation.

The real heroes, however, were Captain Luis Avila and his wife Claudia. Both joined us during the dinner and I’m deeply honored to have met them. While I’m happy with our fundraising campaign’s accomplishments to date, the truth is we can never do enough to thank those who fight for our freedoms and who go to great lengths to protect our way of life. We breathe freely because they freely choose to fight for what this nation stands for.  At CKE, we are always grateful for that. Keep up the great and compassionate work @GarySinise because it’s making a difference in the lives of people like Captain Avila and his family.


To read a recent Real Clear Politics op-ed I wrote regarding next year’s presidential election, please click on this link:  As usual, you can read on for additional context.

If you’re like me, you’re closely following the Republican presidential contest and the diverse group of candidates. The race for next year’s top job is a fascinating one and should make us feel proud that every four years, Americans vote for someone they believe will lead the nation in the right direction and we then have a peaceful transfer of power.

Today, though, we face many international and domestic challenges and Americans feel like we’re headed in the wrong direction.  Perhaps this is why you hear many talk about “buyer’s remorse” when they refer to our most recent presidential elections. To ensure we elect the best candidate next year, we must understand who the candidates are and what they bring to the table.

This is the moment for Republicans to offer optimistic policies for getting the country back on track, not for dividing the electorate with political rhetoric. All Americans must remember that, as a people and as a nation, we are at our best when we champion life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. The next president of the United States of America should remind us about that and present a unifying vision so our country can move forward.


To view a recent interview with Neil Cavuto on this topic, please click on this link:

If you want additional details, just continue to read.

Yesterday, I did an interview with Neil Cavuto regarding Vice President Biden and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for paying workers a $15 minimum wage. Neil kicks off the segment entitled, CKE Restaurants CEO: $15 minimum wage kills jobs, by saying Cuomo abandoned his initial support of a multi-tiered minimum wage, higher in the more expensive NYC area and lower in the outskirts, for an all across the board increase. Neil correctly states that the increase will make a mess of things for the fast food industry.

As I wrote earlier this week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, early research shows the $15 minimum wage increase is having a negative impact in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, except maybe those who don’t run a business for a living. Here’s why: if you increase wages in such a “draconian fashion,” it takes away from the ability of businesses to absorb the increase in pricing and forces them to use labor more efficiently or resort to automation, resulting in the loss of jobs. As I told Neil, mandating increased wages won’t help people who are looking for jobs, making the overall employment situation worse.  With labor participation at a 38 year low, 6.5 million people working part time because they can’t find full time jobs, and another 6 million out of the labor force who want a job now, our focus should be on creating jobs rather than eliminating them.

I’ve experienced how hard it is to earn a living, to support a family, to live paycheck to paycheck, to do more with less.  But, eliminating jobs and opportunity isn’t the solution.  There’s an alternative. We need an opportunity based economy where anyone who wants to work can find a job and earn success. If businesses can thrive, there will be increased opportunity for everyone.


Click here to read my most recent Wall Street Journal op-ed regarding the impact of minimum wage increases on job losses. Read on if you’d like additional context.

In an op-ed that ran in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled, A Post-Labor Day, Minimum-Wage Hangover, I looked at recent research showing that mandatory minimum wage increases in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle have cost thousands of jobs as employers use labor more efficiently and turn to automation. The losses will come as a surprise only to people who don’t run a business for a living. To really help the working class, there is only one thing that will decrease poverty and increase opportunity: economic growth. And history has clearly shown that there is only one system that can produce economic growth sufficient to meaningfully reduce poverty and increase opportunity: free enterprise.

Also, over the Labor Day weekend, I was quoted by the Times Herald Record Online (published in Middletown, New York) on the topic of the New York state Labor Department’s Wage Board recommendation to move forward with minimum wage increases there of $15 an hour applicable only to the quick service restaurant sector. The article entitled, Businesses pan plan to hike fast-food minimum wage, quoted me as saying that NY’s proposed increase discriminates against fast-food chains with 30 or more outlets and punishes the franchise sector which lifts people from the working class to the middle class. This is simply the wrong way to go about helping people who need entry level jobs the most.



To view a recent Fox Business show special on the subject and get my take, please click on the link: As usual, you can scroll down for more details.

FreedomFest recently met in Las Vegas and I had the opportunity to go on the John Stossel show to discuss whether the American Dream is still achievable. The audience was large and extremely engaged which made the show very entertaining. The Fox Business show included other guests like Steve Wynn from Wynn resorts and I think you’ll enjoy watching it. My segment starts at the 9 minute mark and wraps up just before the 15 minute mark.

John Stossel kicks off the segment titled, The American Dream, by talking about our edgy marketing and showing the Most American Thickburger ad. That’s what I call a sizzling intro! After he introduces me as the CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, he talks about the success I’ve had in leading this company to where it is today. During the segment, I explained to John that I was able to turn the company’s fortunes around by relying on a management style summarized in two words: no excuses; and improving the quality of our food, restaurants and marketing. It’s amazing what will happen when you take time to find out what people want and you invest the time, energy and resources to consistently deliver an outstanding product.

No discussion about the American Dream, though, would have been complete without talking about upward mobility, the role of minimum wage jobs in helping people climb the ladder of success, and the obstacles people face in government. As I told John, we need to create jobs for anyone who wants to work and the only way to increase opportunity and reduce poverty is thru economic growth, not government growth. This is the best way for us to ensure that the American Dream won’t fade away!


To view today’s interview with Fox Business host Charles Payne regarding market selloff, please click here. As usual, you can scroll down for more details.

Anybody watching the market selloff knows that it has been significant. During a segment with Charles titled, Government needs to back off, we discussed how gas prices and a strong dollar should benefit companies with a domestic base in the U.S.

We also talked about the number of people who are eating out and whether the trend will continue. I used Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s as examples of how food quality has gone up and how attractive prices can help make the trend sustainable. However, things would be much better across our economy if government regulators would back off.

In discussing the impact of higher minimum wages and government overregulation on businesses, I cited a recent American Enterprise Institute (AEI) analysis that shows the Seattle hike has so far resulted in the loss of 1,300 jobs. I also told Charles about the National Labor Relations Board attack on franchising a business model that has lifted more people from the working class to the middle class than any other business model.

I wrapped up my interview by encouraging voters to support candidates who are going to help increase job opportunities and reduce poverty.


To quickly access some articles published following a recent congressional hearing during which one of our top executives testified on the impact of the Department of Labor’s proposed changes to federal overtime rules, please click links below. Read on if you’d like additional information.

Last week, Eric Williams who was recently-promoted to CKE Chief Operating Officer and is also one of our company’s newest franchise owners, testified before the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections regarding the administration’s proposal to raise the salary threshold under which salaried employees would qualify for overtime pay from $23,660 a year to $50,440. Eric, who started his career at Hardee’s as a crew member in 1983 advancing through the ranks with various management positions at both company and franchise operations, criticized the proposal because it won’t help employees rise thru the ranks and will most likely result in reduced hours, reduced salaries or reduced bonuses.

As Eric put it during the hearing, “The very people this overtime proposal is intended to help will unfortunately be the biggest losers.” He goes on to tell committee members that individuals like him “may never reach their potential or realize their career dreams because of this change.” If you’d like to watch the hearing, please click here. Also, if you’d like to read what I had written on the topic last year, please click on this title: Obama’s Overtime-Pay Boomerang. Before taking a step that will reduce their future chances of success, the administration would be well-advised to consult with the salaried employees who they claim this proposal will help and see how they feel about the change. Chances are they’re more interested in earning their performance based bonuses and moving up rather than logging more hours.


To quickly access my recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, please click here: How the GOP Can Avoid Becoming the Pan Am Party. You can read on if you want some additional background…

In business, as in politics, we often come across people who refuse to adapt in the face of change which can result in setbacks both large and small. Today, as a nation, we seem incapable of moving forward and dealing with serious issues in a pragmatic and reasonable manner. This becomes even more apparent during campaign seasons as Americans become more divided on issues that impact us all equally.

The recent comments made by Donald Trump regarding immigrants serve as a perfect example of this disconnect and failure to map a new course of action. That’s why I took the opportunity to submit an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday under the headline, How the GOP Can Avoid Becoming the Pan Am Party. My point is simple: to win next year’s presidential election, Republicans cannot alienate the very voters they will need to win it, so they must consider a different approach.  We can’t insult the very voters essential to victory and expect them to vote Republican. The bottom-line is that the demographics in our nation are changing and the party needs to figure out ways to make voters, who haven’t typically voted Republican, feel welcomed. We can adapt without compromising our principles but adapt we must.