Industry News | June 9, 2010

Hardee's Goes Hand-Breaded with Chicken Tenders

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Hardee’s now offers its Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders instead of pre-cooked, frozen chicken tenders. The new chicken tenders are made with all-white-meat chicken breast tenderloins, or “tenders,” dipped in a buttermilk and egg batter, rolled in seasoned flour and then fried to a golden brown color with a crispy texture. The entire process takes place right in the restaurants.

“The idea for doing Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders came to us from our largest franchisee, Boddie-Noell Enterprises, the same folks who pioneered the chain’s famous Made From Scratch biscuits over a quarter of a century ago,” says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s Food Systems. “Once we tried them, we knew consumers would find them irresistible because they represent such a huge quality leap over the mostly pre-cooked and frozen chicken strips available now. Obviously, our Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders are a lot more work to make than the pre-cooked, frozen ones, but our experience tells us that consumers will notice the difference in quality and keep coming back for more.”

Boddie-Noell Enterprises (BNE), Hardee’s largest franchisee headquartered in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, brought the idea of introducing Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders at Hardee’s to the attention of the chain’s corporate office after introducing them in a casual dining steak restaurant they owned and watching them quickly grow into one of the most popular items on the menu.

“Hardee’s management has always been receptive to input and suggestions from their franchise community,” says Bill Boddie, president and chief executive officer for Boddie-Noell Enterprises. “That open communication lets us all have a voice in continuing to bring quality food and Six Dollar Service to our customers while solidifying the strength of the brand.”

Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders are sold in 3-piece and 5-piece orders for $2.99 and $4.49, respectively, with a choice of Honey Mustard, Creamy Buffalo, or Buttermilk Ranch dipping sauces. They can also be ordered in a combo meal with Natural Cut Fries and a beverage, and are available as an option on the chain’s kids meal menu. The tenders are already on the menu at many Hardee’s locations and will be in all restaurants by the end of the month.