The Hardee’s fast food restaurant chain has proposed the construction of a new location on Brick Boulevard, with its application before the township planning board set to be heard this week.
If approved, the restaurant will mark the first Hardee’s to be built in New Jersey since the company announced last year that it would return to the northeast U.S. after a nearly two decade-long absence. Owned by Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE Restaurants, Hardee’s has over 2,000 locations nationwide.
The Brick location has been proposed for 55 Brick Boulevard, the same shopping center where the Stop ‘N Shop supermarket and Burlington Coat Factory stores are located. John Hanrahan, an engineer on the project, told the township planning board in an initial hearing this summer that the restaurant will be constructed at a vacant pad site just south of the jug handle in the shopping center’s parking lot and feature a drive-through lane.
The site where the restaurant has been proposed was approved in 2009 for a fast food restaurant and drive-through. Bay Harbor Shopping Center, the formal name of the Stop ‘N Shop plaza, has elected to complete the 2009 approval process, Hanrahan said.
On a preliminary basis, the restaurant would be open between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., with the potential for the hours to be expanded if the restaurant is successful, according to Anthony Gomez, an operations expert with Hardee’s who submitted testimony to the planning board. The restaurant would hire between 40 and 50 employees who would work in shifts of seven to 10 hours. The restaurant would receive two food deliveries each week plus two bun deliveries.
Hardee’s, mainly known for its hamburgers, would be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the proposed Brick location. At the initial hearing, some planning board members and neighboring residents voiced concerns over the traffic the restaurant may bring to the area, especially with its proposed location adjacent to the jug handle.
Karl Penke, a traffic consultant, testified that about 60 percent of the restaurant’s traffic would enter the restaurant area from Brick Boulevard itself, with the rest being divided up between Hooper Avenue, which runs behind the shopping center, and customers who were already in the shopping center at another business. Cars will be able to access the restaurant directly from the jug handle lane itself.
The restaurant chain, which is being represented by state Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), who is also a private attorney, will be back before the planning board this Wednesday, Oct. 8. Additional testimony on the traffic issue is expected, along with a discussion on whether Hardee’s can use a catalytic converter rather than a scrubber to control cooking odor.
At the initial hearing, Hardee’s representatives said their restaurants do not use scrubbers, which are normally required in Brick, and favor the catalytic converter technology. Township officials said they would compare the two technologies to see if the catalytic converter would be compliant with existing ordinances.
The meeting, which takes place at the township municipal complex on Chambers Bridge Road, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.