Portions provided by Lindsey Klingele for Meatingplace. Used by permission.
Wilbur Hardee, founder of the burger-centric chain Hardee’s, died Friday (June 20) in Greenville, N.C., the same town where he opened his first Hardee’s restaurant in 1960, the Associated Press reported.
In the time since Hardee opened the first of his namesake restaurants, the chain has grown to become a large part of St. Louis-based CKE Restaurants, and now includes 1,900 locations across the Midwest and Southeast, as well as 200 international locations.
Hardee opened the first restaurant in 1960 as a drive-in that offered 15-cent hamburgers that were cooked on a charcoal broiler. According to information provided by Hardee’s, “The very first Hardee’s had no tables, no waiters and only a few items on the menu. But, the drive-thru restaurant was an immediate success. The main attraction was a 15-cent fresh-ground, lean beef burger that was made to order on a custom-build charcoal broiler.”
The company went public in 1963, and Hardee sold his stake a few years later. He went on to launch 85 different restaurants, including Biscuit Town, Hot Dog City and Beef and Shake.
For the full news story and obituary, click here.