Carl's Jr. Bacon 3-Way Burger
Slideshow: Bacon seems never to leave the table despite consumer preferences for lighter meals during the summer months.

The rich and hearty meals that characterize dining during the colder months are on hiatus during the summer, but bacon seems never to leave the table.

Brad Haley, CMO for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s noted that bacon is one of the most popular and beloved food items in the United States, and it’s showing up on menus in different recipes. Enter bacon jam, identified by Google as a trending search term. Spreadable bacon makes an appearance on the fast-casual chain’s latest premium burger offering.

“At Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring things to fast food consumers that they previously could only get at sit-down restaurants for a lot more money, which led us to the Bacon 3-Way Burger,” Haley said. “Sure, the Bacon 3-Way Burger has plenty of bacon in the form of thick-cut, Applewood-smoked bacon strips and crumbled bacon, but the real star is the bacon jam, which is starting to show up on fine-dining and casual-dining menus across the country.”

For some foodservice operators, bacon just makes current menu items better. Steak ‘n Shake recently launched a lineup of 24 meals under $4 that includes the chain’s newest creation: the Meat Lovers Steakburger which features a beef patty, a “Steak Frank”, bacon, onions and barbecue sauce.

And The Baconator is back. Wendy’s “ultimate masterpiece for meat lovers” is joined by Baconator Fries — natural cut potatoes topped with cheddar cheese sauce, Applewood smoked bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.

“Only Wendy’s can bring beef and bacon to give you a hamburger worthy of the name Baconator,” said Kurt Kane, Wendy's chief concept and marketing officer. “It starts with fresh, juicy beef raised close so that it never needs to see a freezer. We top it off with real bacon cooked the right way, not in a microwave like some others use.”