As a fast-food restaurant, Arby’s prides itself in serving the tastiest roast beef sandwiches in America. But unbeknownst to most people, Arby’s has a number of interesting facts that include its food and history. Scroll down to know more about some amazing Arby’s facts that will make you go eat it daily.
10. Arby’s ‘Meat Mountain’ sandwich created quite a stir
With a tagline that boldly states ‘We have the meats’, Arby’s is one fast-food restaurant that does not shy away from its meat-heavy menu. Ever since it opened its doors in 1964, Arby’s has been ‘the’ place to have the tastiest roast beef in America. While most other fast-food joint menus are loaded with burgers, hot dogs and the like, the founders of Arby’s decided to set their restaurant apart by focusing on deliciously loaded meaty sandwiches. Sandwiches are one of America’s favorite meal items, and Arby’s strategy of concentrating on sandwiches rather than burgers was a stroke of genius. Their meat sandwiches continue to be hot-sellers to this day. But during one instance in the past, Arby’s was struggling against its competition and decided that they needed to make the customers aware about all the meat offerings that they could add to their customized sandwiches at Arby’s. Posters of all the proteins – roast beef, brisket, corned beef, bacon, Angus steak, ham, roast turkey, and chicken tenders – were put up everywhere at Arby’s restaurants. All the meats were widely advertised and sure enough, customers started flocking to Arby’s for a bite of all the delicious meats. But what Arby’s did not anticipate was how customers would interpret the advertised meats. According to Arby’s staff, customers started demanding ‘the sandwich with all the meat on it’ i.e. they wanted all the proteins in one sandwich! Unofficially, the sandwich began to be known as ‘Meat Mountain’. Though not an official menu item, you can request this loaded meat sandwich at any Arby’s restaurant and if you ask nicely, the staff might just make one for you! For $10, you can get all the advertised meats plus two types of cheese plus veggies and their signature ‘horsey sauce’ on the ‘Meat Mountain’ sandwich.
9. Arby’s has sold tons of food over the years
Arby’s is a popular name on the American quick-service fast-food scene. Though it is in the same league as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc., Arby’s has distinguished itself by placing its focus on serving sandwiches rather than burgers. This unique selling proposition has resulted in a gain in market share and rapid expansion across America. In fact, Arby’s now has many locations across the globe. Through a franchising model, Arby’s now operates more than 3,300 restaurants worldwide. Ever since its opening, Arby’s has not looked back. It has attracted customers by the droves to its outlets across America. Though it had a limited number of items on its menu in the beginning, it has added a variety of delicious items to its menu over the years. But its signature roast beef sandwich and its variants continue to be the most popular items on Arby’s menu till date. Over its more than 50 years of existence, Arby’s has sold a shocking 5 billion classic roast beef sandwiches! And it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Arby’s sells tons of food every year. By 2014, about 1.37 million pounds of sauerkraut and approximately 3.34 million pounds of corned beef were sold at Arby’s restaurants across the world. And how can we forget the legendary ‘Horsey Sauce’ that is one of the signature sauces at Arby’s. Slathered on roast beef sandwiches, the horsey sauce (Arby’s take on horseradish sauce) is delicious and creamy and was even sold in bottles for a limited time. Reportedly, gallons and gallons of horsey sauce have been sold over the years at Arby’s.
8. Pioneers in public health
Health-conscious and fast-food are two words that you would generally not use in the same sentence. But Arby’s will make you do just that! They were the pioneers among fast-food restaurants in being conscious of public health. In their efforts to take care of their customers’ health, in 1994, Arby’s became the first fast-food restaurant to ban smoking in all of its outlets. They introduced a smoking ban that was effective across all their 257 restaurants in 1994. And other fast-food restaurants soon followed suit. Prior to that, customers at fast-food restaurants were casually subjected to second-hand smoke while enjoying their food. Thanks to Arby’s, all that has changed for good. Thus, Arby’s was a pioneer in prohibiting smoking at fast-food restaurants. Arby’s was the pioneer in introducing health-conscious items on their menu too. While most fast-food is loaded with cholesterol, sugar and sodium, in 1991, Arby’s decided to try out a new ‘lite’ menu that had a range of lighter fare like salads and sandwiches that were 300 calories and under. Some items on this ‘lite’ menu were even said to be 94 per cent fat-free. In another move towards using healthier ingredients, it was reported that in 2006, Arby’s stopped the use of additives in their chicken items and limited the use of trans-fats in their cooking. Thus, Arby’s may not be the most nutritious place to dine at but it is certainly one of the healthier fast-food restaurants.
7. The secret behind the name Arby’s
At first, the name Arby’s sounds strange and if you think that the restaurant is named after someone actually named ‘Arby’, you would be quite mistaken. Think about it – do you know anybody named ‘Arby’? That’s because there isn’t anybody named Arby! Contrary to popular belief, the fast-food restaurant chain is not named after a person called Arby nor is it named after an abbreviation of their famous sandwich ‘Roast Beef’ sandwich. It is, in fact, simply an abbreviation of the name of the founders of Arby’s – Raffel Brothers i.e. R.B. converted to a cool-sounding ‘Arby’s’. Interestingly, the Raffel Brothers, Forrest and Leroy, wanted to call their fast-food restaurant ‘Big Tex’, but the name was already taken by another business. So, the brothers racked their brains and came up with a play on the letters ‘R’ and ‘B’. The first Arby’s outlet opened in July 1964 in Boardman, Ohio.
6. Arby’s holds the record for the world’s longest commercial
Arby’s distinguishes itself from other fast-food brands in terms of the items on offer at its restaurants. Arby’s is known for its signature roast beef sandwiches instead of the usual hamburgers and fries fare. Since its founding in 1964, the brand has been dedicated to providing the best sandwiches to customers and in October 2013, Arby’s introduced the Smokehouse Brisket sandwich as a means to reinforce their dedication to beef sandwiches. The beef brisket was said to have been smoked for 13 hours before being served to the customers in the form of Smokehouse Brisket sandwiches. The sandwich was introduced for a limited time in 2013, and after enjoying much popularity with customers, it was brought back in 2014. To drive home the point that the brisket had indeed been smoked for 13 hours, in 2014, Arby’s ran a 13-hour commercial that actually showed the entire brisket smoking process! Now, one would think that convincing any television channel to showcase a 13-hour commercial would be tough, considering that the average viewer cannot even be convinced to watch the standard 30-second commercial! But Arby’s managed to find a taker for its 13-hour commercial in the form of Duluth, Minnesota station ‘My9 KBJR-TV’ that aired it on a Saturday. The entire brisket smoking process was taped by Arby’s in advance and then the commercial was broadcast on the Minnesota channel. It is said that many viewers tuned in to watch the commercial, the average time being 39 minutes. And in the process, Arby’s managed to create a Guinness World Record, that of the longest commercial on TV! And to celebrate the record, it is said that Arby’s gave away 500 DVD box sets that showcased the entire 13-hour commercial with an additional 8 hours of turkey smoking process.
5. Arby’s made the world’s longest curly fry
No fast-food menu is complete without fries on it. And Arby’s is no exception to this rule. But would you believe that the original menu at Arby’s did not have any French fries on it?! We’ll wait while you let that sink in. In the 1970s, when Arby’s had embarked on a rigorous expansion drive, it also decided to take a long hard look at its menu and came to the conclusion that a revamp was in order. Several new items were added to the restaurant menu during this period, including their signature Horsey Sauce, Jamocha Shakes, and French Fries. And Arby’s famous Curly-Q Fries were introduced only in 1988. Customers loved the new additions, especially the curly fries. These soon became an Arby’s staple. Arby’s even holds the record for the world’s longest curly fry. In February 2013, an Arby’s outlet at Waynesville, North Carolina, served a 38-inch long curly fry to a customer, Kim Medford. Ms. Medford was blissfully unaware of this and only discovered the unusually long fry when she sat down to eat her meal. When measured, the curly fry was easily more than 3 feet long. Thanks to the customer, Arby’s now holds the record for the world’s longest curly fry.
4. Arby’s original menu was limited and quite expensive for the time
Since its inaugural 55 years ago, Arby’s has managed to firmly establish itself in the fast-food category. Walking among giants like McDonald’s and Burger King must have surely been a tall order for Arby’s back in 1964, but it has managed to make its mark. Customers throng to Arby’s outlets for their delectable roast beef sandwiches, horsey sauce, curly fries and Jamocha shakes. But did you know that when Arby’s started out, their menu had an extremely limited number of items? Reportedly, the Raffel Brothers, who are the founders of Arby’s, chanced upon the idea of starting up a fast-food restaurant when they were spending an evening at a beach resort in Massachusetts. At that time, they had recently left their jobs supplying equipment to restaurants and were eager to cash in on the fast-food trend. But they were not sure about the food that they would like to serve at their fast-food joint. While at the resort, they saw lots of people lined up in the rain outside an establishment serving roast beef. And it struck them that there was a gap in the fast-food scene of that time that they could exploit by opening a restaurant serving roast beef sandwiches. And that is how Arby’s was born. But Arby’s initial menu had a surprisingly limited number of items: roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks. And the restaurant was fancy too, with a plush décor as opposed to a typical fast-food restaurant interior. The items on the menu were also priced quite a bit higher than other fast-food outlets of the time. Where a hamburger at McDonald’s cost around 15 cents, Arby’s roast beef sandwiches were priced at about 69 cents – four times more than McDonald’s burgers! By doing so, the Raffel Brothers hoped to attract a posh crowd and make Arby’s look like an upscale restaurant.
3. Arby’s can be found in 48 states and 6 countries
One of America’s well-loved fast-food restaurants, Arby’s is present in almost every state in the U.S. Starting out in Ohio, Arby’s has slowly expanded to 48 states in the U.S., Rhode Island and Vermont being the only two exceptions. So, if you’re heading to these two states, make sure you have your fill of Arby’s food elsewhere before entering these two states! Another interesting fact is that the most number of Arby’s locations can be found in Ohio, around 268. And America’s busiest Arby’s is located in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Much like its fast-food counterparts, Arby’s too has many international outlets. Arby’s can be found in six other countries namely, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt. Arby’s has more than 100 locations in various provinces of Canada. Taking their operations beyond North America, Arby’s has taken off very well in the Middle East. There are two Arby’s outlets in Qatar and multiple outlets under the joint Wendy’s/Arby’s banner in the United Arab Emirates. In 2017, they made a comeback in Kuwait after almost two decades. In 2018, Arby’s was back in Egypt with the opening of three outlets through a franchise partner.
2. They are the record holders for the world’s largest and smallest advertisement
As we’ve already seen, Arby’s is no stranger to world records. Adding another feather to their cap is a set of twin records, covering opposite ends of the advertising spectrum, records for the smallest and largest advertisements in the world. Arby’s has set the Guinness World Record for both these categories by means of its ingenious advertisements in 2018. After ending their long-standing association with Pepsi, Arby’s wanted to announce their partnership with Coca-Cola in a spectacular manner. They set about doing so by means of breaking two Guinness World Records. In conjunction with Georgia Tech, Arby’s created the world’s smallest advertisement, on a sesame seed that can be found on a sandwich bun, that was etched with the words ‘A big announcement is coming. This isn’t it.’ The minuscule advertisement measured 38.3 microns by 19.2 microns and was later displayed at a Manhattan outlet of Arby’s. A week later, Arby’s revealed another advertisement, a giant poster spanning five acres in the town of Monowi, Nebraska, popularly known as the ‘smallest town in America’ since it is home to only one resident. The world’s largest advertisement read ‘Arby’s Now Has Coke’ and was even pictured with Monowi’s lone resident standing on the poster.
1. Arby’s was once partly owned by Wendy’s!
Arby’s has a complicated ownership history. According to some reports, Arby’s was sold by the Raffel Brothers to a corporation called Triarc. Triarc also went on to purchase Wendy’s fast-food restaurants. Thus, both restaurants now came under the Triarc umbrella. In 2008, Triarc decided to rename itself to ‘Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.’ Suffering heavy losses, in January 2011, the company announced that it was looking into selling off Arby’s side of the business to concentrate on developing Wendy’s side of the business. In June 2011, they sold 81.5% stake in Arby’s to ‘Roark Capital Group’. But the parent company, ‘Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.’ had by then changed their name to ‘Wendy’s’, making Wendy’s part owners of Arby’s! More recently though, in 2018, Wendy’s sold its minority stake in Arby’s to another corporation. It is also interesting to know that in many locations, particularly in the Middle East, Arby’s was jointly operated as Wendy’s/Arby’s.