Changes at Carl’s Jr. starting to pay off

The company that owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains is getting more healthy — and a little less skanky.

Stung by more than two years of dipping sales at the Carl’s Jr. restaurants, and with its target audience of young men disproportionately suffering from unemployment, CKE Restaurants Inc. is trying to expand its appeal.

It’s a change in direction that may be starting to pay off.

Led largely by the popularity of turkey burgers — a product that would have been heresy at Carl’s Jr. in past years — sales have been increasing at those restaurants, the company said Tuesday. And in a break from the past, near-naked women are nowhere to be found in the company’s latest ad campaign for a chicken sandwich — instead, it stars a robot.

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