For businesses to thrive, they must deliver what customers want with passion and frequency. For our company, that means frequently coming up with new burgers people will want to eat. This is a challenge but it’s one that we relish because we’re not afraid to be bold. Such is the case with our newest product, the “Most American Thickburger,” which is now being served at a Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s near you. As part of the new burger launch, I did a number of interviews to talk about the burger and other issues related to the industry.

I kicked off the week-long media tour thru NYC by going on “Squawk Box” to discuss our new burger. During the segment, I spoke about the All-Natural Burger, low-carb options and the importance of giving customers what they want. You can view that clip by clicking on this link: Millennial menu changes at Carl’s Jr.

Running a business, of course, also involves dealing with other challenges such as over-regulation, over-taxation, wage increases, etc. Some states do what they can to create environments where businesses can thrive and one of them is Wisconsin. In a separate segment titled, Market should drive wages up, I discussed a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed in which I set the record straight about Gov. Walker’s job creation record after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued a report that ranked Wisconsin 40th in the nation for job growth for the one year period from September of 2013 to September of 2014. Instead of looking at the narrow window, I looked at a four year time-frame to show that Wisconsin actually has a good record to stand on. In case you’re interested, you can access the op-ed by clicking here.

On a lighter note, the Jimmy Kimmel Live show did a comedy skit in which they talked about our “Most American Thickburger.” If you want a good laugh, check out the “Burger, Burger” spoof ad where all the ingredients, from the bread to the pickles, are made up of meat. Click here to see the video or here to read his post. If you’re on Twitter, check out his tweet: https://twitter.com/JimmyKimmelLive/status/600750586582016000

 

If you read my blog often, you know I feel strongly about the role job creators play in moving the economy forward and putting people to work. For decades, American business men and women from different backgrounds have contributed immensely not only to our nation’s economic growth and prosperity but also to strengthening our economic bonds with other nations, thereby benefitting the global economy. Unfortunately, starting up new businesses or running existing ones has become increasingly challenging because of the heavy-handed regulatory approach our nation’s leaders and other public officials have adopted. This ultimately limits our ability to invest money and create jobs. Recently, Neil Cavuto and I discussed this very challenge during a segment titled, Taxes, red tape piling on American business.

During the segment, Neil asked me if there’s a way for businesses to feel like they can trust Washington and I told him the way to do it is by electing individuals who support economic growth rather than big government. This was the case in 2010, when Republicans took over the House, and in 2014, when they took over the Senate. Following these elections, the business community breathed easier because it knew that nothing disastrous like Obamacare or Dodd-Frank would come down the pike. These wins, however, didn’t permanently eliminate the threat—a lot of danger lurks for job creators of all sizes from continuing attempts by regulatory agencies to further regulate businesses.

As a study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers last year shows, the big government agenda translates into a $2 trillion price tag annually in compliance costs for businesses. Until we elect people who want to reverse that trend, the economy will continue to limp along while Americans suffer.

 

A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report that ranked Wisconsin 40th in the nation for job growth for the one year period from September of 2013 to September of 2014 might lead you to believe that Wisconsin is headed down the wrong economic track. Governor Walker’s detractors have used the ranking against him to inaccurately argue that the Governor’s conservative economic and anti-union policies are not working for the state.  This is simply untrue.

Using the BLS data for the full four years Scott Walker has been Governor, I wrote an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal yesterday titled, A Closer Look at Scott Walker’s Record on Jobs. Here’s the takeaway: After four years with Scott Walker as Governor, more Wisconsinites are employed and at a higher percentage of the population than when he took office.  In fact, Wisconsin has outperformed the national averages with respect to its employment-population ratio, its unemployment rate, and its labor participation rate.  Its standing among the states has also improved with respect to each of these key metrics.  Imagine what the national numbers would look like if the Obama Administration could boast the same metrics?

 

As CEO of a company with roots in California and a growing global footprint, I can tell you that our success is largely due to the people who work in our restaurants and our franchisees. As with most jobs, being successful in the food industry takes hard work as well as determination, perseverance, and self-reliance. That’s why I’m always particularly proud when our employees become franchisees. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing them fulfill their dreams. Their success bodes well for their families, employees and the communities where they do business.

Amir Siddiqi, an immigrant from Pakistan who went from washing dishes at a Carl’s Jr. to owning 38 of our restaurants and employing 900 people, is one such employee. He knows that, in our country, if you’re willing to work hard and take risks, your potential is limitless—unless government gets in the way. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed Amir wrote titled Up From Dish Washer to Franchise Owner—and Regulation Target, he shares his success story and talks about the threat a government bureaucrat represents to his dream—and those of countless other franchisees.

So long as government doesn’t handicap entrepreneurs like Amir, the American Dream will remain within anyone’s reach and we’ll continue to see many more success stories like his. Job creators, not government, will continue to create real and sustainable economic growth under the right regulatory environment.

 

A few days ago, Fox Business News personality Neil Cavuto and I talked about why President Obama’s latest promise to offer free community college is an indication that he doesn’t know what people want and why his marketing is all wrong. Neil compared that approach against our successful approach to marketing and selling burgers we know people want to eat.

Neil kicks off the segment by saying that if you have something good to sell, people will buy your product. He then tells viewers this is why I spend time making sure our burgers look and taste good and why we use models to sell them. And, he is right. I’m not going to sell something people don’t want to buy.

After wrapping up our burger talk, we discussed the merits of offering “freebies” and why this approach won’t work. In essence, people won’t buy into the idea of having others get freebies at their expense which means the product won’t sell. Instead of focusing on freebies, politicians should focus on creating opportunities. This can be done by using the only thing that’s been known to work with the word “free” in it: the free enterprise system.

 

Recently, Washington Post reporter Anne Hull wrote an article titled, For Hardee’s workers, it’s not a parable, it’s a job, which focused on a number of Hardee’s employees in Iowa and their jobs. In her article, she also mentioned a former Hardee’s employee, now U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who referenced her successful journey from the Hardee’s biscuit line to the U.S. Senate when she gave the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union earlier this year.

The article was written in a way that could lead readers to reach the mistaken conclusion that our employees face limited opportunities because of their jobs. Dismissing the value of entry-level jobs is simply wrong. These jobs provide employees with important skills that can provide a solid foundation for individual success in other areas. Some of our employees move into management positions within our company.  Others use their experience and knowledge to become franchisees. Still others move on to other opportunities such as our former biscuit maker who is now a U.S. Senator.  Personally, I started off scooping ice cream at Baskin and Robbins for minimum wage.  Not everyone becomes a Senator or a CEO but, in this country, everyone has a chance.  We don’t want our employees to anchor their future prospects to entry-level jobs; we want them to grow both personally and professionally.

To get a different take on the value of our jobs, please read the letter Dan Ponder, a Hardee’s franchisee, submitted to the paper titled, There’s more to the biscuit line, in which he highlights the contributions of one employee who will soon celebrate her 28th year as a breakfast cook. While you’re at it, take a moment to also read the Washington Examiner’s retort to the article: Washington Post turns Joni Ernst success story into indictment of late capitalism, fast food, Iowa weather.

No matter what the critics say, entry-level jobs are valuable and they can help people succeed in life.

 

Earlier this evening, I had the opportunity to talk to Neil Cavuto about why Republican presidential hopefuls are pushing their ‘working class’ backgrounds to win over potential voters. In a segment titled, Why are GOP 2016 hopefuls pushing ‘working class’ backgrounds?, Neil and I discussed the new GOP sales pitch.

Neil kicked off the segment by asking me if this new tactic is a response to Mitt Romney and I told him that part of it, is a response to the way Mitt was portrayed in the press which really wasn’t an accurate portrayal of who he was. We then discussed the potential candidates’ desire to establish a connection with the working and middle classes and how this will be important for any successful campaign. During the segment, I told Neil it’s important for presidential hopefuls to lay out a vision that shows voters how they can achieve success after six years of limited opportunities. Given the demographic changes, I told Neil that it will also be important for Republicans to target Hispanics and African Americans with a message that conveys that they, too, can achieve the American Dream.

 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the drop in oil prices on consumer spending and higher wages with Fox Business News personality Maria Bartiromo. In a segment titled, How falling gas prices are boosting restaurants, I walked Maria thru the positive impact on our sales by sharing a chart with her that compares oil prices with our 52 week moving average for domestic restaurant sales. I also explained how economic growth creates an increase in the demand for labor which, in turn, leads to higher wages.

Bartiromo interview screen shot, 3.11.15

On the same day, Fox Business ran an op-ed I wrote on the same subject titled, Wal-Mart’s Wage Hikes a Win for Free Enterprise. The chart referenced in both the interview and the op-ed makes it abundantly clear that a drop in oil prices is leading to increased consumer spending and higher wages. While a meaningful reduction in taxes and regulatory costs could well have had the same positive impact six years ago, it’s never too late for government to do the right thing and look for ways to create a better environment for business to thrive. Given the right conditions, job creators will continue to create real and sustainable economic growth. This means jobs, jobs, jobs.

oil prices, restaurant sales

 

 

 

 

varneyToday on Fox Business News’s Varney & Company, I spoke with Stuart Varney about Walmart’s announcement that it will increase wages for 500,000 of its employees up to $10 an hour by next year. Varney believes Walmart didn’t cave to union pressure. Rather, Walmart chose to pay more to attract and retain quality employees.

I agree with Varney.  It’s this simple: The free enterprise system works. Right now, oil prices are down and people have more money in their pockets, so business is up. When business is better there’s a greater demand for labor.  And, when there’s a greater demand for something, the cost of it goes up.  Walmart is responding appropriately.  The free enterprise system is a good system and it works – for business and for employees.

 

 

Yesterday, I spoke with Neil Cavuto about President Obama’s recent negative remarks against Staples and their compliance with Obamacare. In the Fox Business segment titled President Obama slams Staples, others for making ObamaCare-related cuts, Neil challenged the President’s assertion that Staples is greedy and doesn’t care about its employees. I agree with Neil that Obamacare is the real culprit when it comes to the reduction of employee work hours.

To grow, prosper and create more jobs, American businesses must mitigate increased labor costs created by policies such as Obamacare. The President should fix a policy that doesn’t work, not fixate on blaming businesses that would love to provide more jobs.

Speaking of American jobs, Real Clear Politics today published an op-ed I wrote titled The Truth About Obama’s Job Record in which I explain why the unemployment rate is misleading.