By Scott Strasser, July 6 2016 —
After two months of hype and controversy, Carl’s Jr. is officially coming to MacHall.
At Student Legislative Council on July 5, Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance Branden Cave announced the burger joint will take over Sweet & Savory’s lease.
“Late on Wednesday June 29, we were informed by the Carl’s Jr. franchisee that they had come to an agreement,” Cave said.
According to Carl’s Jr. management, the franchise aims to be in MacHall by September.
“If we can make it by the time students come back, that would be ideal,” said Jeff Branton, Carl’s Jr. vice-president general manager of Canadian operations.
Sweet & Savory owner Diane Pham declined to comment on the sale.
Branton said the MacHall unit’s design will be based on one of the Carl’s Jr. locations in Denmark.
“Although it’s a very small space, we’ll try to make it as modern and hip as humanly possibly,” he said.
Cave first announced the possibility of Carl’s Jr. coming to MacHall in early May, when negotiations between the burger joint and Sweet & Savory were still ongoing.
Negotiations came to a halt in mid-June due to Sweet & Savory’s asking price. The arrival of Carl’s Jr. then appeared unlikely.
Some University of Calgary
students expressed concern over a Carl’s Jr. coming to the U of C, citing gender-targeted advertising and a lack of healthy and vegetarian food choices.
Fifth-year psychology and development studies student Clare Hickie wrote an open letter to Cave on June 18 stating the SU should not allow Carl’s Jr. to come to campus.
“It is clear that Carl’s Jr. does not consider women as part of its demographic, nor worth considering in their business model as more than sexual objects,” reads Hickie’s letter.
In response to the letter, third-year chemical engineering student Teng Rong started a counter-petition arguing why students should welcome Carl’s Jr.’s arrival.
“Every big company targets their core audience,” Rong said. “I believe in individual rights and freedoms above all. It’s the company’s right to have a target audience. Doing so doesn’t make it inherently sexist.”
Branton said Carl’s Jr. will give coupons for free Thickburger combos to those who signed Rong’s petition by July 6.
As of July 6, Rong’s petition had 107 supporters.
“I think we’re most excited about the people who are excited for us,” Branton said.
The MacHall unit will be Carl’s Jr.’s second location in Calgary. The franchise opened its first location in December 2015 near SAIT.
According to Branton, that unit has been the most successful of the franchise’s 18 Canadian locations.
Carl’s Jr. will be the second burger vendor in the MacHall food court in addition to A&W.