DES MOINES, Iowa (Dow Jones)--Bunless burgers are going on the menu at Hardee's restaurants.
Bowing to the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the fast-food chain said it is offering customers the option of ordering Thickburger sandwiches with the meat wrapped in lettuce leaves.
The low-carb Thickburgers come in three sizes - one-third pound, one-half pound and two-thirds pound. Prices for the charbroiled bunless burgers are the same as those with buns, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday. Hardee's is a unit of CKE Restaurants Inc.
As a 30-year fast-food restaurant veteran, spending eight to 10 hours a day inside a restaurant and on the road, Dan Zeliff, regional vice president for Hardee's in St. Louis, has eaten more than his fair share of fast-food over the years. "I admit, I probably overindulged," said Zeliff.
But when Zeliff decided it was time to cut back on consumption, he didn't want to sacrifice quality or taste. So, he began ordering Hardee's 1/3-, 1/2- and 2/3-pound Angus beef Thickburgers(TM) without the bun. To his surprise, the bun wasn't the only thing Zeliff lost; he ended up shedding 40 pounds. Not wanting to be left out, his wife also joined him on his low-carb kick. She lost 30 pounds.
"I actually wasn't trying to diet," said Zeliff, "I just wanted to cut a few calories. I was surprised with the results."
"Dan's story was kind of an eye opener," said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee's. "And, after hearing many similar stories from other employees, franchisees and our guests, we decided to investigate the opportunity as a possible new product idea. What we found was that about 32 million Americans are currently reducing carbohydrates in their diets, and that number is growing every day."
"We knew that Hardee's could offer a better low-carb burger than any other quick-service burger chain because Hardee's offers big, seasoned Angus beef patties. In fact, Thickburger patties taste great right out of the charbroiler with nothing on them, and no other chain can say that."
The new Low Carb Thickburger is made from a 1/3-pound Angus beef hamburger patty and wrapped in iceberg lettuce leaves. The amount of ketchup was reduced compared to other Thickburger menu items, but the product has a full dose of mustard, mayo, cheese, tomato, dill pickles and red onion. The resulting five grams of carbohydrates, or three net carbohydrates (carbohydrates less fiber and sugar alcohols), make the product an appropriate option for even the most stringent carb counters.
The Hardee's Low Carb Thickburger is served in a paper "half wrap" and comes in its own cardboard carton, both of which make eating a lettuce- wrapped, bunless burger a much easier task than would be the case with typical fast-food packaging.
Participating Hardee's restaurants will begin selling the Low Carb Thickburger on Monday, Dec. 15. Suggested retail price is $2.89, though prices may vary.
Introduced in January of this year, the Hardee's line of Thickburgers gives burger lovers a level of quality and taste unparalleled in the quick- service burger industry. Made from 1/3-, 1/2- and 2/3-pound Angus beef patties, the Thickburgers are charbroiled, topped with premium, quality ingredients and are served wrapped in individual boxes. Including the new Low Carb Thickburger, there are now a total of nine Thickburgers on the Hardee's menu.
CKE Restaurants is the first quick-service restaurant operator to promote a low-carbohydrate burger on its menu. In addition to the Hardee's Low Carb Thickburger(TM), CKE has also introduced the Low Carb Six Dollar Burger(TM) through its Carl's Jr.® restaurant chain.
Has anyone tried one of these things? It seems a bit silly to me.
I believe I'll start marketing my own two-step program to cater to these trendy dieters. I'll call it the Get Off Your A** and Stop Eating Fast Food diet. ;f