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Fast-Food Wedding : A Carl's Jr. Serves Couples in a Hurry

May 03, 1987|MARY ANN GALANTE | Times Staff Writer

Finally a place for burgers, fries and a spouse--fast.

Anaheim-based Carl Karcher Enterprises plans next week to send letters to area churches offering its brand-new Carl's Jr. at Harbor Boulevard for no-frills knot-tying and receptions.

Yes, folks who want to merge without fuss can now take their weddings to the banquet room at the 2-week-old store across from Karcher Enterprises' corporate headquarters, near the Riverside Freeway in Anaheim.

The $1-million restaurant is on the site of the company's Sunshine Broiler, a spiffy new shop that replaced a combined coffee shop and Carl's Jr. that was razed last fall. It's all part of Karcher Enterprises' $25-million remodeling program, which by June should give face lifts to about 200 of the chain's Southern California restaurants.

The Anaheim shop's enclosed banquet room seats 70 and is decorated with mauve air-conditioning vents and hanging green-and-pink silk fuschia vines. It also has the 436-restaurant chain's newest gimmick: a serve-yourself soft drink machine with pink-and-blue neon lights reading "All You Want."

And because it's Carl's flagship, store No. 12 has a few menu extras not found elsewhere in the Karcher empire--such as broasted chicken, beer and house wine. There are even golden rings (fried, at 99 cents a bag).

Natty Uniforms

The 5,600-square-foot store's perks also include natty, almost formal uniforms for the manager and his assistant: gray polyester suits with red sweater-vests.

Once couples sign up for the banquet room, company employees will videotape wedding rehearsals or ceremonies--which guests can watch on the store's closed-circuit TV while they munch Famous Stars, chili dogs or chicken, said Andrew Prokop, regional director of operations. He added that the room and taping--both free--are also available to seniors' groups, Boy and Girl Scout troops and just about any team or group with hearty appetites and a sense of adventure.

In its first two weeks of business, the store's sales have averaged $5,000 a week. Chief executive Carl Karcher projects eventual sales of more than $2 million a year--which would make store No. 12 one of the highest grossing in the chain.

Company officials hope some of that business may come from folks fed up with fancy hotels and pricey catering. After all, "a lot of people want to go someplace to have a nice wedding and not spend $10,000 to do it," said spokesman Patrick Flynn. "And this is the place to do it."

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