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The six dollar burger

A purposely misnamed burger has become the most successful new product introduction ever for CKE Restaurants' two hamburger chains. The Six Dollar Burger is approaching sales totals of 25 million at Hardee's and 18 million at Carl's Jr.

"Without a doubt, it's really meant a lot to the brand," says spokesperson Jana Shortt at Hardee's, which rolled out the burger last November. "It's set us on a course toward the fast-casual segment with a more premium product." Originally intended as a limited-time offering, "it was so successful it has become a permanent fixture," Shortt says. Last week Hardee's launched new TV spots and in-store advertising for the item.

The nearly half-pound, cooked-to-order patty is actually priced at $3.95 in each chain. It's billed as the sort of burger one expects in a full-service restaurant. It comes topped with two slices of American cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, red onion, bread-and-butter pickles, tomato, and lettuce and is served on a toasted sesame seed bun. It won the Silver Skillet Award for best sandwich at the Restaurant Business Menus 2002 conference earlier this year.

"The Six Dollar Burger has been extremely successful for Carl's Jr. as well as Hardee's," says spokesperson Narina Singh at Carl's Jr., where it's also a permanent item. "We rolled it out in August, 2001. It produced exceptional same-store sales increases for three consecutive months after release."

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