Any foodservice professional who’s become irrationally unexuberant about the economy might do well to reflect on the abiding bootstrap optimism of Carl Karcher, whose death last month rekindled memories of a long talk I had with him 10 years ago. That chat took place during one of several visits I made to the industry legend’s home in Anaheim, Calif. We discussed his pioneering Carl’s Jr. burger chain and Carl Karcher Enterprises—now the nearly $1.6 billion-a-year CKE ...

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