Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hardee's New Breakfast Items

Hardee's is trying to give America's traditional breakfast diners a run for their money with 2 new breakfast items: The Ham & Three Cheese Breakfast Burrito and Country Potatoes side item.
“Hardee’s has had a great deal of success in the past by bringing sit-down restaurant-quality food to fast-food consumers, most notably with our award-winning line of 100% Black Angus beef Thickburgers,” says Brad Haley, EVP of Marketing for Hardee’s. “Our famous Made from Scratch, buttermilk biscuits have always been very popular as well but we still had a few opportunities to further narrow the gap with sit-down restaurants on our breakfast menu. So, we have taken a very popular breakfast omelet and made it easy to eat on-the-go with our new Ham & Three Cheese Breakfast Burrito. And, what better complement to a great diner-style breakfast entrée than our new Country Potatoes, which were created to match the kind of potatoes served at most sit-down restaurants.”
The Ham & 3 Cheese Breakfast Burrito is 2 folded eggs with diced ham and melted cheddar, American and Swiss cheeses wrapped in a flour tortilla. It has 590 calories and 39 grams of fat. (Full nutritional info is below.) It is priced at $2.69 or as part of a small combo for $4.29.

The new Country Potatoes are "are cubed chunks of whole potatoes, with the skin left on, that are lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, like those served in most sit-down diner restaurants." A small order of the Country Potatoes will run you $1.09. The small order has 200 calories, the medium has 290, and the large has 480. Complete nutritional info for the medium is below.

Here's Hardee's new TV ad for the Burrito:

Since I mentioned Chick-fil-a in my post about helping out kids this season, I wanted to let you know that Hardee's does their part during the holidays, too. Jenna at Hardee's corporate office in St. Louis let me know that their office usually adopts a needy family in the St. Louis area via the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery and that this year she was able to solicit multiple departments and districts at Hardee's and help almost 20 families. Jenna is looking forward to dropping off all the goodies tomorrow!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Toy Drives: a great thing!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the holiday season is a great time to brighten the lives of some less privileged youngsters in your community.

The holidays can be a really hard time for kids in families that are 'financially challenged.' It is hard on kids who don't have much to see other kids getting presents. And during these rough economic times there will be more holiday hardships than usual.

Try a google search for "toy drive" and the name of your city. Or, there's always Toys For Tots the perennial gifting foundation started by the Marines.

So, take a moment to think about those with less and make a kid's holiday happier. It'll make you happier, too!

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as I do, the Santa's Helpers Toy Drive, run by WFAA-TV, has been brightening Christmases for kids for 39 years. They collected and delivered over 78,000 toys in the D/FW area last year.

One sponsor of Santa's Helpers is Chick-fil-a, so when my wife and I went to the downtown Fort Worth Santa's Helpers drop-off last night to make our donation I got my photo taken with the Chick-fil-a Cows:

Happy Holidays from Ken at Fast Food News and Fast Food Facts!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

McDonald's Still After Starbucks Customers

McDonald's is showing some serious stamina in their quest to take some (or much, or all) of Starbucks business.

Their campaign started in April of 2005 when they announced their new specialty coffee drinks. Since then their coffee outranked Starbucks in a Consumer Reports survey and they've come up with some interesting coffee product placement on TV news among other things.

Then, earlier this year, Starbucks announced the closing of 600+ of their stores and some say McDonald's attempt to become a morning 'beverage destination' was at least a little part of the problem for Starbucks.

And now this:

Wow, McDonald's isn't letting up and they're going after Starbucks head-on now.

Another billboard (also appearing in the Seattle area, Starbucks home turf) reads "large is the new grande."

This ad tactic really takes advantage of the tough economic times, too. Some people are starting to realize that cutting the $4+ coffee from their daily routine can really save them some money ($1,460 per year).

Dunkin' Donuts has also been pointing this out and has certainly done some damage to Starbucks business, too, with their "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks" campaign and their independent study showing that folks prefer Dunkin' Donuts coffee over Starbucks.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

BK's Interesting Burger Documentary

If you've seen the short versions of Burger King's new marketing concept, we've got the full length version for you to watch below.

It's called "Whopper Virgins" and the idea is to let folks from remote parts of the world, who have never heard of McDonald's or Burger King, try a Whopper and a Big Mac.

But it is more than just your average taste test. Directed by Stacy Peralta (skateboarder turned director, he's an original Z-Boy from Dogtown), the documentary takes an interesting look at people from around the world trying a hamburger for the first time.

Picking up a hamburger is second nature to us, so it is interesting to watch people try to pick up a hamburger for the first time!

Here's the full video (it runs over 7 minutes long):

You can also watch it at BK's Whopper Virgins site.

more on the movie:

"I was eager to sign on to this project when I realized the risk Burger King Corp. was taking to uncover the true nature of peoples' love for the Whopper sandwich," said Stacy Peralta, award-winning director and producer of films such as "Dogtown" and "Made in America." "The footage that my crew and I were able to capture takes a revealing look at the naked truth behind the Whopper sandwich's following."

"The people we encountered along the way were wonderful," said Brian Gies, vice president, marketing impact, Burger King Corp. "They were enthusiastic about sampling our product and even more eager to share their culture, including their own food, with the team conducting the tests."

In keeping with BKC's philanthropic philosophy to give back to the communities in which it lives and works, at the conclusion of each taste test, Burger King Corp. worked cooperatively with local authorities to make donations, tailored specifically to benefit each individual community that participated in the 'study' and make a lasting contribution in each region. The company donated educational supplies and children's toys in Thailand and Greenland that will benefit local schools and increase learning opportunities for children. In Romania, the company helped fund a restoration of a 17th century church, which will enhance one of the community's central gathering places.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Fast Food T-Shirt

I stumbled across another Fast Food related t-shirt today called "Secret Habit" ... it shows Ronald McDonald on a bench disguised in a trench coat and hat eating a pizza on his lap.

It's by Glenz Tees (designed in Auckland, New Zealand.  produced in Austin, Texas.  printed on American Apparel.)


It's not a Threadless T this time, but I still love them!

Some fast food related T's I've found in the past:
How Hamburgers Are Made
Fast Supper
KFC / "Dad?"
Fast Food Meal & Inside You


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fast Food Secret Millionaire on Fox

Todd Graves and his wife Gwen were on Fox's show "Secret Millionaire" last night. Todd (pictured below) is the CEO and Founder of Louisiana fast food fave, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.

Raising Cane's is definitely an up and coming fast food franchise. I first wrote about Raising Cane's back in 2006. At the time I recall being impressed with their commitment to food quality and safety.

The show on Fox last night tugged on the heart strings... a necessity for good ratings for that type of show! But the cynic in me had to admit that Mr. Graves didn't flood the show with references to his restaurant chain. If he had, the $100,000 he gave to 3 groups trying to come back from Hurricane Katrina would have been worth it just for the exposure.

It was still great marketing, though, and today Raising Cane's has changed their website dramatically to cover the Graves' appearance on Secret Millionaire. I checked the site last night and there was no mention of the show or the Graves' genorosity, but today the title of the site is "Todd Graves | Raising Cane's | Secret Millionaire" to assist fans of the show in finding the site with Google.

Marketing aside, Graves did do some great good for 3 worthy groups. I especially liked Coach Cyril Crutchfield at South Plaquemines High School. Coach Crutchfield gathered the players from 3 rival high schools to form a high school football team after Katrina and 2 years later they won the state championship. Graves gave him $100,000 for his football program. You can read more about Todd and Gwen Graves' appearance on Secret Millionaire on the Raising Cane's website.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Carl's Jr.'s Steak Sandwich ($1 off)

Carl's has a coupon for $1 off their Charbroiled Steak Sandwich.

This long sandwich is "100% sirloin steak" (aka, 'oblong hamburger patty'), onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a toasted steak roll.

It also generously includes 700 calories, 330 of them from fat, and 38 grams of fat. Here's the rest of the nutritional information from Fast Food Facts:

Carl's Jr.'s marketing slogan for this sandwich is: "It's how guys do fancy."
“In this economy, it’s understandable that guys would want to watch what they spend,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl’s Jr. “So, we’re giving them the opportunity to do just that with the new Charbroiled Steak Sandwich. It isn’t cheap, low-quality, value-menu fare like most of our competitors are pimping right now, but it does represent a great value for a big piece of steak compared to what guys would pay almost anywhere else. Even in these tough times, people still want quality food and great taste, but they also want to feel like they are getting a good value for their money. And, for a little over four-and-a-half bucks, the new Charbroiled Steak Sandwich from Carl’s Jr. delivers value in a big way.”
The TV ad for the Charbroiled Steak Sandwich are supposed to be funny... how about ridiculous and disturbing...

Here's the short version.

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A Skeptic's Take on Super Size Me

As Brian Dunning writes over at Skeptoid: "McDonald's is probably the world's easiest target. It's always popular to be anticorporate; it's always popular to bash fast foods, and audiences are generally well predisposed to welcome any information that supports these concepts."

Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" took advantage of that, drew a huge audience, and convinced many people that eating McDonald's would not only make you fat, but make you sick, too. And he did this without presenting any real scientific evidence.

Other documentaries have been made showing that a person (like Spurlock did) can eat only McDonald's for a month and actually lose weight. Two examples are Bowling for Morgan and Portion Size Me.

As Dunning points out, the largest calorie items at McDonald's and other fast food restaurants are the beverages. Spurlock had many McDonald's shakes while making his film and a 32-ounce McDonald's Chocolate Triple Thick Shake has 1,160 calories! These can easily be avoided when dining on fast food.

The soft drinks pack a lot of sugar and calories, too. But not the diet ones! And not the water!

There are some important things to think about in this Skeptoid editorital, especially if you've seen and completely accepted Super Size Me.

read or listen to Super Sized Fast Food Phobia at Skeptoid.

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Fast Food linked to Alzheimer's

A Swedish study that fed fast food to mice claims that after nine months the mice showed signs of developing abnormal brain tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Sweden's Karolinska Institutet claims that diets rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol might increase the risk of Alzheimer's.

"On examining the brains of these mice, we found a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain," Susanne Akterin, a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, who led the study, said in a statement. "We now suspect that a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic factors ... can adversely affect several brain substances, which can be a contributory factor in the development of Alzheimer's."

I think it is important for us to remember that there is no single, special ingredient in fast food that you couldn't find elsewhere in your diet of non-fast food. So, if it is the fat, sugar and cholesterol that are somehow 'causing' Alzheimer's in mice, they could have gotten it eating other foods high in fat, sugar and cholesterol, too.

I'm the last one to claim that fast food is your healthiest choice, but the implication that fast food, by itself, causes Alzheimer's disease is a little harsh!