Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Go For the Bloat

It is breathtaking in its audacity. In a report from CondeNastPortfolio.com we learn of a reverse approach by Carl Jrs. / Hardee’s – going full out towards mega-caloric burgers.

This post is dedicated to Mark, at 2:48 the b-side who is on a quest in Kuwait for the ultimate burger. I am afraid he is going to – literally – eat his heart out.

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It was a patriotic statement that went a bit too far afield: an attempt to create the “ultimate picnic burger.” Called the Fourth of July Burger, it was tested last summer at seven locations by the West Coast fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. and consisted of a huge beef patty topped with pickles, ketchup, mustard, potato chips, and a hot dog. Stacked high and loaded with fat and calories, it was the food equivalent of the national anthem played through a sousaphone, a perfect distillation of a peculiarly American form of balls-out, postmodern gluttony that, at least outwardly, we’re all supposed to be ashamed of right now.

Yet for all its pomp and glory, it didn’t quite work. When John Koncki, director of product development for Carl’s Jr., talks about it now, he comes across a little wistful. It tasted really good, he says, but the name and the concept proved too much for the testers. “Sometimes,” the earnest Koncki says, “some of the sandwiches are so unique that consumers can’t wrap their heads around them.”

The uniqueness isn’t the only thing that’s hard to get your head around. During the past few years, CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has employed an audacious go-for-bloat approach that defies just about everything you’ve come to assume about the business of modern fast food. (See nutrition data for CKE franchises and other fast-food chains.) In an age when other chains have been forced to at least pretend that they care about the health of their customers and have started offering packets of apples and things sprinkled with walnuts and yogurt, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are purposely running in the opposite direction, unapologetically creating an arsenal of higher-priced, high-fat, high-calorie monstrosities—pioneering avant-garde concepts such as “meat as a condiment” and “fast-food porn”—and putting the message out to increasingly receptive consumers with ads that are often as controversial as the burgers themselves.

You can read the rest of this article, and similar articles, by clicking HERE.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Cooking, Diet / Weight Loss, Eating Out, Experiment, Health Issues, Humor, Social Issues | , , | 2 Comments

Fast Food To Feel Good About

I’m still adjusting to the local time, and there are odd times when I am suddenly starving. Delighted to be in Seattle, I know where all the Ivar’s restaurants are. Some are go-in-and-sit-at-a-table kind of Ivar’s, with waiters and fabulous entrees, and then there are the fast-food Ivars, where you can get fish and chips, salmon and chips, halibut and chips, clam chowder, crab cocktail, and my favorites – smoked salmon chowder, and grilled salmon Ceasar. Oh, yummmmmmmmy!

Most of all, it delights my heart to see so many people eating fast food that might even be good for you.

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November 21, 2007 Posted by | Cooking, Eating Out, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Seattle | , , , , , | 6 Comments