Karcher, Carl's Jr. founder, dies at 90

by Eric Schroeder
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CARPINTERIA, CALIF. — Carl Karcher, the founder of the Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain, died Jan. 11. He was 90 years old.

Mr. Karcher started his business in 1941 when he and his wife, Margaret, purchased a hot dog cart in Los Angeles. Four years later, the couple opened Carl’s Drive-In Barbeque, their first full-service restaurant in Anaheim, Calif. In 1956, the Karchers opened the first two Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Anaheim and nearby Brea, so named because they were smaller versions of the original drive-in restaurant.

In 1966, the company was incorporated as Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc., and offered stock to the public for the first time in 1981. In 1994, stockholders approved the structure of the company to include a new parent company, CKE Restaurants, Inc.

Mr. Karcher was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, and a daughter, Carleen. Survivors include three sons, eight daughters, 51 grandchildren and 45 great-grandchildren.

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