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Monster sandwiches rule!
Well, maybe not ... but the new menu additions may point to a change in tastes.
March 30, 2005: 1:25 PM EST

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - America is hungry, dang it, and it doesn't want a salad.

I give you Exhibit A: the Enormous Omelet Sandwich from Burger King. At 730 calories, dripping with cholesterol laden eggs, bacon, and sausages, it makes dieticians and nutritionists run screaming into the night.

When we posted our story about the new sandwich, readers for the most part were appalled.

Some emails ...

"That sandwich should be banned. They need to launch a Senate investigation into the Burger King franchise and figure out why they are on a mission to clot all of our arteries." -- Jimmy

"DOES IT COME WITH A PARAMEDIC?" -- Ann

We put up a poll about the sandwich and it was swamped with an overwhelmingly negative response.

However ... and here's my point ... one in four people said they'd try it. Definitely try it.

Now, being as our polls are unscientific, I went to Burger King directly and asked how the new sandwich was doing.

They sold 750,000 in the first week. "It's doing very well," smirked the spokesman for the privately held burger joint.

Yep. Somebody's hungry. And not just at Burger King. If you haven't noticed, Hardee's is on a Thickburger rampage. The Monster Thickburger, born in November last year, has over 1,417 calories, making Burger King's egg sandwich look, well, like an egg sandwich. And Hardee's, owned by CKE Restaurants (Research), just debuted a Frisco Thickburger in mid-March.

"Our Thickburger campaign is about a year old and doing great," said CKE CEO Andy Puzder in a quick chat over his cell phone. "Sales have been up about 7 percent and were at an 11- year high in terms of average unit volume."

But he disabused me of my notion that America is going off its Atkins dieting kick. He thinks it is more about demographics. What you offer depends on who you are going after. McDonald's, for example, has a lock on kids. Because of that, it gets the moms. And so the clown's menu is dominated by small burgers and salads.

"We plan on growing by focusing on big, juicy, delicious burgers for young, hungry guys," said Puzder.

There's some logic to that, I guess, although taken to its extreme that means we'll have to get Nielsen ratings for different burgers. I can see it now: Women 18-35 prefer "Desperate Housewives" and a fish sandwich while men 18-35 prefer a Monster thick Burger and "24."

But then again, I've seen my wife pound down her fair share of Quarter Pounders. And I've seen an 11-year-old nephew take on a pound of ground beef and win.

Well, demographic targeting aside ... you can only eat so much salad. Bring on the burgers!

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Yeah, but how do you feel about goldfish?

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Allen Wastler is Managing Editor of CNN/Money and appears on CNN's "In the Money." He can be emailed at Wastlerswanderings@cnn.com.  Top of page

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