Monday, March 21, 2011

Rant #467: Hardees Appetite

I heard this morning that the fast food chain that is known for the mega-1,420 calorie "Monster Burger" is going to the other extreme by making available to patrons something that none of its competitors is offering.

The hamburger chain is also offering a low-calorie turkey burger. I am sure it will come up with an "explosive" name for this new item on its menu, but whatever it chooses, no other similar chain offers a turkey burger.

I guess this gives patrons some choices when they go into Hardees restaurants, but the question still lingers in my mind: if you are watching your weight, why eat at a fast food joint to begin with?

Yes, I know that everyone has different needs. Some people like to eat themselves into oblivion, others count their calories. But you simply can't count calories at a fast food joint.

Even if the turkey burger is a calorie-conscious dish, once you pile on the cheese, ketchup, relish and everything else, you just come up with a poor relative of a regular hamburger. And don't forget adding in the fries and the drink, too.

But in today's fast food world, it's about giving patrons the maximum amount of choices possible. People aren't eating out that much anymore due to the economy, so once you've got customers in the restaurant, you don't want them to leave empty handed, so give them enough reasons to stay.

That is what the turkey burger is all about. (And no, the photo is not a picture of their turkey burger, although I guess it could end up looking like this if you pile on everything and order a fries and a drink.)

Other chains have tried low-calorie burgers. I think McDonald's tried one in the 1980s, which was made out of seaweed or something like that. I tried it once, and it was awful, and it was later pulled from the menu.

Here is my take on this: my family and I have eaten turkey burgers at home. They really aren't that bad, but again, once you pile all the stuff on it, what are you getting?

And grilling a turkey burger is a disaster. Grilling gets a lot of flavor off the fat content of whatever you are putting on the barbecue, and since turkey burgers have minimal fat, all you get is a hot, edible piece of flattened turkey. It really doesn't taste that good.

Give me beef any time!

But for those who are watching their weight or are vegetarians, I guess this will do.

But again, don't kid yourself. What value are you really getting from eating this hamburger?

If you are so conscious of this, eat a salad. And eat at home.

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