In the latest example of quick-serve burger chains competing to attract consumers trading down from casual or more upscale dining venues, Hardee's is offering a new Portobello Mushroom Melt Thickburger.
Like most other Thickburgers, this variation (available on a limited-time basis) features one-third pound of charbroiled, 100% Black Angus beef. The toppings are Portobello mushrooms sautéed in a garlic-butter sauce, caramelized, grilled onions and two slices of cheese; the bread is sourdough. Price: $3.79 solo or $5.79 as part of a combo meal including fries and a beverage.
The chain explicitly promotes the new item as "fine dining and fast-food fare coming together" in its launch release.
However, the commercial for the new burger, from longtime Hardee's/ Carl's Jr. agency Mendelsohn/Zien Advertising, takes a mainstream approach. The spot -- which begins its television run next week but is already on YouTube -- shows a grandfather scoffing at his beloved, traditional patty melt being "fancied up" with Portobello mushrooms and Black Angus beef, but clearly unwilling to give it up to the "young, hungry guy" next to him, who's also eating one of the new burgers.
Hardee's menu already includes nine different Thickburger selections, including mushroom and Swiss, low-carb, bacon cheese, a $6 version, and one-quarter pound and two-third pound versions.
Hardee's will also promote the burger and broadcast "mushroom facts and tidbits" through its Facebook page and Twitter handle.