Another Reason to Hate Carl's Jr.

This month's issue of Portfolio devotes its cover to the modern-day Carl's Jr.--not the quaint regional chain run by a bigot burger baron but one based in Carpinteria and operated by religious hypocrites. Say what you want about the conservativism of founder Carl Karcher, but at least the man was consistent, not like current Carl's CEO Andrew Puzder. Karcher loved making money but refused to let his advertising become repugnant or offensive; under Puzder, Carl's has become notorious for its commercials featuring moral icons such as Paris Hilton, Hugh Hefner, and Dennis Rodman. We don't mind the ads--companies need to make money. But then Puzder offers this gem to Portfolio reporter Joe Keohane regarding those commercials, which Karcher publicly condemned:

"I'm probably more a member of the religious right than I am anything else, so these are my people I'm offending. That's kind of a weird thing, but I can't run the business to the aesthetic tastes of any particular group in the country. And I will tell you, when we run these ads, sales go up and they don't come down."

Really, Puzder? Chik-fil-A and In-n-Out have done just fine producing food loved by millions while sticking to a conservative Christian business philosophy. Jesus doesn't take kindly to hypocrites--didn't that statue of St. Francis of Assisi Karcher had in your company's former Anaheim headquarters teach you anything?


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