Forty-five Years And Counting A Look At Arby's(R) Past, Present And Future

July 24, 2009 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – On July 23, 1964, two brothers, Forrest and Leroy Raffel, opened the doors to the very first Arby's restaurant under a glowing neon cowboy hat in Boardman, Ohio. They had a vision to shake up the fast food industry with something different – roast beef. With an innovative menu featuring oven roasted, freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches, Texassized iced teas, and classic Jamocha Shakes, the Raffel brothers quickly got people thinking Arby's. Today, Arby's is celebrating its 45th anniversary and continues to offer a departure from everyday fast food.

Throughout the years, Arby's has kept its taste for innovation. The 1970s brought now classic items including the Beef 'n Cheddar, the Arby-Q®, and signature sauces like the tangy Horsey sauce. During the 1980s, Arby's expanded into Canada, added the signature curly fries to the menu, created the Arby's Foundation and introduced a new "Burger Boycott" ad campaign. The 90s saw the addition of Sidekickers® and the first Arby's Charity Tour Golf Tournament to benefit the company's national charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters. 2000 and beyond brought the launch of the popular Market Fresh® line of sandwiches and salads, a new "I'm Thinking Arby's" ad campaign and Arby's® Toasted Subs.

Today, the chain's culinary innovation center, under the leadership of industry veteran, Brian Kolodziej, employs a dozen people and has been responsible for such creative menu introductions including Roast Chicken, Iced FruiTeas and, most recently, Roastburgers™, a mouth-watering new line of burger-inspired sandwiches served with Arby's famous slow roasted, thinly sliced roast beef.

At Arby's, creativity doesn't end in the kitchen. To help introduce its new menu items, the company has launched a host of promotions and programs, including a $5 BBQ Bacon Cheddar Roastburger combo (with curly fries and a drink) available through August, a Wednesday FREEbies program, with different free menu items (with purchase) offered each week through August 26 at participating restaurants and its Arby's Extras fan club, where people can receive valuable offers.

"As we reflect on the past 45 years and look down the road to what's next, one thing remains true -- our commitment to providing our customers with a unique, better tasting alternative to traditional fast food," said Tom Garrett, President and CEO, Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc.

About Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc.

Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc., based in Atlanta, is the second largest quick-service sandwich chain in the U.S. with more than 3,700 system-wide restaurants. Founded in 1964, Arby's quick service restaurants specialize in slow roasted and freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches as well as Market Fresh® deli-style sandwiches, toasted subs, and salads, all with the convenience of a drive-thru. Arby's offers customers a unique, great tasting alternative to traditional fast food with its one-of-a-kind menu items including the Beef 'n Cheddar, Curly Fries and Jamocha shakes. Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. is a subsidiary of Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc. (NYSE: WEN).

ARBY'S FUN FACTS

  • Contrary to popular belief, the name Arby's came from founders Raffel Brothers' initials, "RB," not roast beef
  • Gloria Raffel, wife of founder Forrest Raffel, designed the original Arby's cowboy hat logo
  • The first sign on the restaurant said "Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich is Delicious"
  • The original restaurant was designed to look like a Conestoga Wagon
  • The original roast beef sandwich cost 69 cents
  • Arby's charitable organization, the Arby's Foundation, is the nation's largest corporate supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
  • The longest recorded curly fry ever measured was almost 2 feet in length
  • In April 2009, Arby's opened its first green building in Magnolia, Texas and is currently pursuing its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council

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