Carpinteria / CA. (cke) CKE Restaurants hit a growth milestone this week with the 500th international restaurant opening of its Carl´s Jr. and Hardee´s brands. On April 06th, Bright Star LLC, exclusive developer of Carl´s Jr. restaurants in Russia, opened their newest Carl´s Jr. in St. Petersburg, Russia. Bright Star, one of CKE Restaurants Holdings´ leading international franchisee partners, recently entered into a Master Franchise agreement that will spur the brand´s continued growth in the Russian market. The race to be the 500th international store was a close one, with Kuwait Food Company opening Hardee´s stores in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia within one week of the St. Petersburg Carl´s Jr. opening. CKE Restaurants and Kuwait Food have a quarter-century relationship that will see the Hardee´s restaurant brand alone hit the 250th store mark later this year. «Achieving this 500th international restaurant milestone is a true testament to the global strength of our brands, to our franchise partners and the company´s commitment to rapidly expanding our presence in foreign markets», said Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings. The 500th opening is part of CKE Restaurants´ aggressive international expansion plans which saw the opening of 148 new international restaurants over the last two years, marking the first time in the company´s history that international development outpaced domestic growth. The company opened restaurants in ten new countries over the past two years, including Türkiye, Panama, Kazakhstan, Canada, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Thailand, The Dominican Republic and Brazil.