While the fried-food specialty of the Southeast has long conquered quick-serve menus, Hardee’s is banking on another fried Southeast favorite to draw in customers during the breakfast daypart: fried bologna.
The Oscar Mayer Fried Bologna Biscuit was released system-wide at Hardee’s, featuring a folded egg, American cheese, and a slice of what is actually grilled Oscar Mayer bologna on top of a Hardee’s Made From Scratch biscuit.
“This is a product that actually has been sold in various mom and pop and diner restaurants in the Southeast for many, many years,” says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing at Hardee’s. “We’ve had some franchisees periodically ask us to test the product or to just work on it, and our initial reaction to that was always, ‘Well it sounds like maybe it’s just too regional an item.’”
Haley says the success of other so-called “regional” menu items such as chicken biscuits encouraged Hardee’s to give the Fried Bologna Biscuit a chance.
“We thought if we could promote it in the right way and get people to try it, even in areas where they’re not familiar with that as a breakfast item, we could probably do pretty well with it,” he says. “We did a test market, and the test market literally had record-breaking consumer research results back and it sold very, very well. So that gave us the confidence to go ahead and roll it out everywhere.”
Though Haley thinks Hardee’s is the first quick-serve to feature bologna this prominently, he believes there could be room for it on menus nationwide.
“If you think about it it’s not that different than ham or bacon or other breakfast meats,” he says. “So I think it has the potential to catch on. Will it ever catch bacon and ham? I don’t know. But I can see it certainly becoming more of a staple than it is today.”
The Oscar Mayer Fried Bologna Biscuit is now available for $1.89, or $3.59 for a combo that includes Hash Rounds or Country Potatoes and a drink.
By Sam Oches