What Made Hardee's Frisco Burger Such A Big Deal When It Came Out

Hardee's — which is known to some readers as Carl's Jr. depending what state you're in (via Mental Floss) — may not be the first chain that pops into your head when someone mentions fast food. But that's not to say it isn't a popular restaurant chain by itself. From bikini babes frying up outrage (via ABC News) to Norm MacDonald voicing the company logo for a brief period (via AdWeek), the chain's history is as thick as the burgers it promotes.

Die-hard fans of Hardee's may have read the headline of this article and found themselves craving some angus beef right now. Hardee's Frisco Angus Burger is, according to the chain's website, a 1/3-pound charbroiled black angus beef patty covered in Swiss cheese, mayo, tomatoes, and bacon sandwiched between toasted sourdough. While it might sound like a pretty good burger to some, you may also think that it's not exactly anything revolutionary in the world of fast food. 

But way back in the halcyon days of the 1990s, Hardee's Frisco Burger was something to talk about. After all, it helped normalize bacon in the fast food culture.

Hardee's was one of the first chains to use bacon on burgers

"If you want the best of San Francisco, get a Frisco Burger at Hardee's" — this was the bold promise Hardee's made to its customers in 1992 (via YouTube). But while San Francisco is famous for its take on sourdough (via The Culture Trip), the burger wasn't game-changing because of its bread. It was famous for its bacon. 

As Mental Floss explains, the 1980s were a time of intense focus on personal health; an era of VHS exercise tapes and diet foods that ranged from simple to bizarre. Bacon, a delicious-yet-fatty staple of many modern diets, wasn't exactly as popular as it is today. Indeed, according to Food Republic, lobbyists from the National Pork Board invested thousands of dollars to try to popularize the pig in the eyes of American consumers. As time went on, and the 1980s become another bygone era of has-been fads and trends, people began to slowly return to more decadent lifestyles.

While Hardee's wasn't the first restaurant in history to place bacon on a cheeseburger — that honor belongs to A&W Restaurants, according to Meat + Poultry — it was still one of the first chains to offer bacon on its menu. The Frisco Burger's combination of charbroiled Angus beef, bacon, and Swiss cheese on sourdough helped to revitalize the pork product in the restaurant industry. Soon enough, other companies would begin to sell bacon-adorned burgers to a now pork-craving America as well.