Carlisle is in the business of real estate and old fashioned hamburgers. An unlikely mix at first glance, but the company's focus lies in hospitality and franchise development. Through subsidiary Wendelta, it is roughly the 5th-largest Wendy's franchise operator in the US with about 100 fast-food restaurants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Among its non-restaurant developments is One Beale, a $175 million mixed-use property located in Memphis. This 30-story development will feature a Hyatt Regency hotel and spa, more than 25,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space, and luxury condominiums. Carlisle Corporation is family owned by founder and chairman Gene Carlisle and his wife Karen.
In operation since 1982, the company had previously been an active hotel owner but has been pursuing fairly aggressive growth in its Wendy's franchise business over the past decade. It has built its portfolio through both acquisitions and construction of its own restaurants.
In part, Carlisle has managed to stay in the top tier of the Wendy's franchise system by recognizing and acting upon consumer trends among quick-service restaurants. It and other rivals, such as McDonald's, began competing with the likes of Starbucks to capitalize on the success of the casual premium coffee market. Carlisle gave it a go by opening a coffee bar called Javaccino's within its Starkville, Mississippi, Wendy's that features coffees, lattes, and "Frosty-cinos" (a Wendy's Frosty mixed with coffee flavoring). With free Wi-Fi access and flatscreen TVs, it was hoping to appeal to the caffeine-craving crowd at Mississippi State University while jumpstarting a fresh brew concept within a traditional burger chain. – less