Wilbur Hardee opened his first restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina in 1960.
More restaurants were opened quickly through franchising and, on a smaller scale, acquiring other restaurant chains.
Hardee’s Restaurant served distinctive burger items, including the Huskee, a hamburger for 15 cents, a cheeseburger for 20 cents, fries, and milkshakes.
In the 1970’s Hardee’s expanded to Germany and Austria.
In the 1980’s the company had over 4,000 locations in the United States.
In the late 1980’s Hardee’s was bought by Imasco and the new management made decisions that had negative affects.
Ten years later, Hardee’s was down to less than 2,000 locations.
In 1997 the chain was bought by CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr.
Today Hardee’s has 5,812 locations in 30 states, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast. About 475 of the restaurants are operated by the company, while the rest are franchised.
In early October 2020, the company introduced prime rib menu items in an attempt to gain customers.
The parent company maintains a corporate office in Franklin, Tennessee.