ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (April 27, 2011) – Boddie-Noell Enterprises announced today that Leziel Sanders of Petersburg, VA., is the 2011 overall champion of the company’s annual Hardee’s Biscuit Maker Challenge.
Sanders was selected in judged competition as the best among some 740 biscuit makers at 336 Hardee’s restaurants operated by Boddie-Noell, the largest Hardee’s franchise operator in the United States. She bakes Made from Scratch™ biscuits at the Hardee’s at 2839 Hickory Hill Road in Petersburg.
Sanders was one of four regional winners selected from the Hardee’s operated by Boddie-Noell across North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Kentucky. The other three regional winners are Janet Thomas of Aberdeen, Wayne Newman of Martinsville, VA., and last year’s overall winner, Lee Damien of Virginia Beach, VA.
Boddie-Noell honored the four regional winners during a banquet at the company’s Rose Hill Conference Center near Nashville, N.C. during which the Biscuit Maker champion was announced. Photos of the four biscuit-making finalists will be featured later this year on paper tray liners provided to in-store customers at all Hardee’s operated by Boddie-Noell.
The competition started in December, and each biscuit maker was evaluated on the quality of his or her biscuits, knowledge, cleanliness and care of biscuit equipment, knowledge and execution of company procedures, grooming and appearance. The competition’s judges included general and district managers, regional directors and vice presidents of operations and other executives in the restaurant division of Boddie-Noell.
Sanders said that she was stunned when it was announced at the awards events that she won.
“I was very grateful and very happy,” she said. “I’m very proud, just overwhelmed. It’s making me smile a lot.”
While Sanders had worked at the Hardee’s location for less than two years, she had been a biscuit maker for only about two months when she entered the competition. That short amount of time perfecting her biscuit-making skills is the least amount of experience baking Hardee’s biscuits of any biscuit maker to win the competition since it began in 1983. It’s a tribute to her baking skills, to carefully following procedures and her commitment to make the perfect golden brown Hardee’s biscuit.
“That she has been baking biscuits for only two months when this competition began shows how meticulous she is,” said Mike Zollo, a Boddie-Noell regional vice president who oversees Hardee’s operations in Sanders’ area. “She’s got competitiveness but also has a really nice smile on her face and it shows with this a special achievement for her.”
Sanders, who comes from a large Philippine family, loves to cook and especially to barbecue. Her favorite breakfast menu item is the sausage biscuit. In her spare time she loves to garden and play Scrabble with her husband William and friends.
“We have some amazing biscuit makers within our company, folks who take real pride in what they create each morning,” said Terry Lewis, Boddie-Noell’s vice president of operations for Hardee’s and host of the Biscuit Maker Banquet. “They make fantastic biscuits that are a signature menu item for Hardee’s and we’re very proud to have them working for our company.”
Hardee’s Made from Scratch™ biscuits, which have been served at Boddie-Noell restaurants since the 1970’s, are a critical part of the restaurant’s menu. In 2010, Hardee’s restaurants owned and operated by Boddie-Noell used 772,360 pounds of biscuit flour, 9,852,645 pounds of biscuit mix and 676,000 gallons of buttermilk to make the golden brown biscuits – enough flour, mix and buttermilk to fill 420 tractor-trailers.
Boddie-Noell Enterprises (BNE) is a diversified family-owned business engaged primarily in restaurants and land development. A Hardee’s franchise operator for 49 years, BNE is the largest Hardee’s franchise operator in the United States with 335 restaurants across four states (North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and South Carolina). The company-owned restaurant brands include Texas Steakhouse & Saloon and Café Carolina and Bakery. BNE also operates franchise Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants as well as the historic Rose Hill Conference Center. The company has major land-development projects completed or under way along the North Carolina coast and in Virginia. BNE employs more than 12,000 people and is headquartered in Rocky Mount, N.C. For more information about the company, visit www.bneinc.com.