This month, Hardee’s and its sibling chain, Carl Jr.’s, became the first major quickservice restaurant chain to add a turkey burger to its permanent menu. The 500-calories-or-less burgers are being promoted as a healthier alternative to typical beef burgers. SmartBrief asked Hardee’s spokeswoman Jenna Petroff about the restaurant’s new menu.
What promotions has Hardee’s done leading up to the launch of the new burger?
We’ll have some print ads in Men’s Health and Women’s Health as well as digital ad buys. You might see Miss Turkey from our commercial making an appearance at a local Hardee’s in life-size cutout form. And we might have more stuff in the pipeline.
Will Hardee’s restaurants need to make changes to their operations or equipment to accommodate the new item?
Nope. You’ll find the same types of toppings on our turkey burgers as you would on our beef burgers. And the turkey burgers are charbroiled like the others, as well.
Hardee’s advertising is often considered male-oriented, yet “healthy” isn’t a buzzword in marketing to males. Do you feel like you’re reaching an untapped market?
While we spend most of our ad money marketing to young, hungry guys, we don’t want to ignore the growing number in this group and beyond who are interested in watching calories, fat and carbs. Hardee’s has had healthier options on the menu for several years, but we just didn’t sell very many of them because people didn’t know about them; we’re really known for our big, indulgent, premium-quality burgers. We think that with the new line of turkey burgers, and our alternative options menu, we can appeal to guests who have specific dietary needs or preferences.
How did Hardee’s find the right recipe for its turkey burger?
We definitely didn’t want to offer your typical dry, cardboard-flavored patty so we partnered with the Eat This, Not That team from Men’s Health. ETNT co-author Matt Goulding spent time in one of our test kitchens working with our product development staff.
Why haven’t other major quickservice chains added turkey burgers? Do you think they will soon?
I wouldn’t want to speculate on other why other chains have failed to add turkey burgers to their permanent menus or if they are going to. But you know what they say – innovation often breeds imitation.
Image credit via Hardee’s Facebook page