ST. LOUIS – As many fast-food chains introduce healthier fare amid fears of being sued, Hardee's is introducing a hamburger with 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat.
St. Louis-based Hardee's Food Systems Inc. on Monday rolled out its Monster Thickburger (search) — two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun. The sandwich alone sells for $5.49, $7.09 with fries and a soda.
The introduction comes at a time when McDonald's Corp. (MCD), Wendy's International Inc. (WEN) and other fast-food giants have broadened their offerings of salad and other lower-calorie fare amid concerns that the industry could be held legally liable for America's obesity epidemic.
Last year, a federal judge in New York dismissed two class-action suits blaming McDonald's for making people fat. McDonald's was also skewered earlier this year by "Super Size Me," an award-winning documentary that targeted the fast food industry.
Even before the new Monster Thickburger, the chain offered five sandwiches with 1,000 calories or more, and eight overall that have more calories than what was once the big-burger standard — McDonald's 600-calorie Big Mac.
"Maybe this is a smart strategy because there are still folks out there who care about the taste and size of their sandwich, and less about their weight," said Jerry McVety, president of the restaurant consulting firm McVety & Associates in Farmington Hills, Mich.
In trading Monday, shares of Hardee's parent company, CKE Restaurants Inc. (CKR), closed up 13 cents, or 1 percent, at $12.63.