Hardee’s re­turns to Cov­ing­ton

The Covington News - - Business - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Hardee’s is once again com­ing to Cov­ing­ton, for the third time, and will lo­cate in the same build­ing it orig­i­nally built nearly 30 years ago.

Hardee’s will re­open in the for­mer Pop­eye’s Chicken and Bis­cuits lo­ca­tion, 3112 U.S. High­way 278, Cov­ing­ton, which be­fore that housed a Hardee’s from 1983 un­til the mid2000s.

Jerry Bouch­illon, who owns the land, con­firmed that the prop­erty was be­ing sub­leased to Hardee’s. AFC En­ter­prises, Popeyes par­ent cor­po­ra­tion, has a long-term lease on the prop­erty and will now sub­lease it to Bis­cuits and Burg­ers, a Colorado-based com­pany that op­er­ates many Hardee’s fran­chises.

Hardee’s could not be reached for com­ment Tues­day, and an open­ing date was not listed on the sign at the prop­erty. How­ever, Bouch­illon said he be­lieved the com­pany had a 90-day con­struc­tion pe­riod, so the res­tau­rant could open in late 2012. Based on the plans he saw, Bouch­illon said the com­pany was go­ing to mod­ify the in­te­rior of the build­ing and do lim­ited ex­te­rior re­pairs, in­clud­ing work on the park­ing lot.

“I think it will do pretty good. Hardee’s has al­ways done a good break­fast, but if you don’t have a good op­er­a­tor you can’t make a go in to­day’s mar­ket,” Bouch­illon said, who said Bis­cuits and Burg­ers op­er­ates the Cony­ers lo­ca­tion, which is the clos­est Hardee’s, and other lo­ca­tions in the state.

Bouch­illon said he was told by Hardee’s of­fi­cials that the only rea­son the fast-food res­tau­rant left in the first place was be­cause of poor man­age­ment.

“The food busi­ness is one of those things that if you don’t have a good op­er­a­tor, you don’t have any­thing,” Bouch­illon said. “You have to have a lot of vol­ume, be­cause you have over­head, sig­nif­i­cant rent — la­bor is cheap — but food costs are fairly high.”

A Hardee’s fran­chise used to be lo­cated in the early 1970s at the in­ter­sec­tion of In­dus­trial Boule­vard and U.S. High­way 278, where a Mamie’s Kitchen is now; a Hardee’s cor­po­rate store later built the build­ing at the Pace Street lo­ca­tion, which was then taken over by a fran­chisee.

The lo­ca­tion has been va­cant for two years since Pop­eye’s closed down in Au­gust 2010. Bouch­illon said other fast food restau­rants in­quired about the lo­ca­tion, in­clud­ing Burger King, but it took two years to fill the va­cancy.

“We were both­ered by it sit­ting empty, but AFC was do­ing what it was re­quired to do, pay­ing its rent and taxes and main­tain­ing the grounds all the time,” he said.

Bouch­illon said he be­lieves Hardee’s will be suc­cess­ful in Cov­ing­ton, but, for his part, he has no plans to ever en­ter the res­tau­rant busi­ness again.

“My fam­ily stayed in the res­tau­rant busi­ness a year and a half max­i­mum, when (we) built a place in the 1950s,” he said. “We got out of the res­tau­rant busi­ness and have been land­lords ever since.”

Danielle Ever­son /The Cov­ing­ton News

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