This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: The Mitchell Hardee’s closed on Wednesday, November 8.
BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – Residents in Brookings and Mitchell were surprised to see the Hardee’s in both towns abruptly closed Thursday afternoon.
Store managers from both locations said the drive thru burger restaurants closed their doors at noon on Wednesday in Mitchell and noon on Thursday in Brookings, without any notice for the employees or the customers. Hardee’s franchise owner is CKE (Carl Karcher Enterprises) Restaurant Holdings.
“I can tell you that they (CKE) just made that decision and they offered the crew the ability to stay for the next week and clean and help it close down,” Brookings General Manager Benjamin Newling told KELOLAND News. “Then they offered them jobs in other locations.”
Newling said the Brookings Hardee’s had at least 16 employees and all are still being paid while they help with closing down.
“I got a lot of great people here, so it’s unfortunate, but it’s also life, it happens,” Newling said.
The Brookings location had multiple signs up that said, “This location has closed. Thank you to all of our loyal patrons and guests.”
Karli Kiner Toliver is a manager at the Hardee’s in Mitchell. She confirmed with KELOLAND News that the franchise owners gave the employees no notice and told them at noon on Wednesday to lock the doors and that they had sold the building. Kiner Toliver was unable to provide further comment at this time.
Many in the Mitchell community were frustrated with the sudden shut down of another restaurant and took to social media. The Mitchell Republic reported in September 2023 that the Burger King in town closed down suddenly as well.
“It is very sad, so many closing in Mitchell. They need these companies,” Bonnie Messerli told KELOLAND News. Messerli also commented on a Mitchell Ask and Answer Facebook post asking about when the Hardee’s closed down, saying “Another one! Sad.”
After the closing of the Brookings and Mitchell Hardee’s on Thursday, and a Hardee’s in Aberdeen that closed in 2020, there are only 11 left in South Dakota.