Arby’s is a fast food chain restaurant that is famous for its delivery of highly stacked roast beef. They’ve also added a variety of other items to their menu. They’ve been a favorite for grabbing a beefy meal for decades. Even if you’re an Arby’s addict like I am, there are some things about the restaurant that you probably didn’t know. After doing a little research into the chain, we discovered several interesting facts that we were not aware of. We thought you might be interesting in the 20 things we discovered that you probably didn’t know about Arby’s.
1. Arby’s was founded in 1964
It’s hard to believe that this American staple has not been around forever, but it has only been in business since 1964. The founders were a pair of brothers named Forrest and Leroy Raffel. The two came to the realization that the top selling item in the fast food industry was the hamburger. Restaurants were putting their own spin on the ground beef product to make theirs stand out from all of the others somehow and it gave them an idea. Why couldn’t they do the same with roast beef and turn it into a sensation? That’s exactly what they did.
2. Not everyone loves Arby’s
This came as a real surprise to us because our team is comprised of Arby’s connoisseurs. The truth of the matter is that Arby’s and their roast beef sandwiches are things that people either love or hate. Those who prefer roast beef are the lovers of the chain because they have so many different ways of presenting the beef in a variety of sandwich types. Not everyone enjoys roast beef sandwiches. If you take the time to read up on it you’ll see that some people prefer a good old fashioned hamburger and would rather pay for one than eat a free roast beef creation. Hmmm…go figure…
3. Arby’s also offers corned beef and brisket
Arby’s is famous for its roast beef sandwiches and the Beef n’ Cheddar is one of their biggest sellers, but that’s not the only kind of sandwich that they serve. They’ve also added Angus steak, brisket, corned beef, bacon, turkey, chicken and ham sandwiches to their lineup. You can also customize your sandwiches when you order. You can add things to it or have them leave things off. You can also specify the type of bun that you want it served on and get that sandwich with or without their famous horsey sauce.
When Arby’s first opened its doors in 1964, their menu didn’t look anything like it does today. There were just a few items that you could order. It was seriously limited to roast beef sandwiches only and you could also get a bag of potato chips and a soft drink with that order. They’ve certainly come a long way in the development of their menu which offers so much that it’s hard to make up your mind about what to have.
5. The name of the restaurant is a compromise
Arby’s isn’t named after a person or even after anyone’s beloved pet. When the Raffel brothers were trying to come up with a name for their new establishment, they had settled on Big Tex. The name had already been taken by another business so this was off the table. It’s kind of humorous how they finally came up with the name. It’s a play on letters because they are the Raffel brothers so when you take the R and the B you have RB. They just stretched it out to be Arby’s. Now you know how Arby’s come to be known by this name.
6. Arby’s sold its first franchises in 1965
Arby’s didn’t become widely known until the 1970s. They started out with a single restaurant in Boardman, Ohio in 1964. The following year, they started selling franchises. By the 1970s, there were 50 Arby’s franchises that were being added to the chain each year. This is how Arby’s experienced its exponential growth and spread to all states in the Union.
7. The first sandwiches were nothing like today’s version
The recipe for their signature roast beef was changed into a more heavily processed version that is still used today in 1971. This all but guarantees that the first Arby’s roast beef sandwiches served didn’t have the same taste or texture and the ones that are made today. They must have been good though. Arby’s became a popular fast food restaurant right out of the gate and they’ve been gaining steady ground ever since.
8. The current logo didn’t happen until 1975
Here’s another fun fact that we discovered about Arby’s. They’ve undergone a lot of changes through the decades since the restaurant’s inception. The current logo that the brand is using wasn’t even created and put into use until 1975. The food is also different. Not only is the roast beef more commercially processed, but they also added shakes, Arby’s Sauce and Horsey Sauce, but they also added the famous Beef n’ Cheddar, the Arby-Q sandwich, the Jamocha Shakes and the curly fries during the 1970s.
9. Arby’s has gone international
The Arby’s fast-food chain has expanded in size to offer over 3,400 restaurant locations within the United States and in Canada, and they’ve also taken the chain past the borders of North America. You can now find an Arby’s location in Qatar, Turkey and in the United Arab Emirates. The highly popular American chain has now spread to other parts of the world. In fact, there are two Arby’s locations in Qatar.
10. Wendy’s is part owner of Arby’s
This is yet another interesting fact that we learned about Arby’s. Wendy’s fast-food restaurants are owned by the Arby’s parent company that was known as Triarc. Triarc purchased Wendy’s and then changed its own name to Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc. This happened in 2008 and since that time, the parent company sold 81.5 percent of interest in the Arby’s change to the Roark Capital Group. The sale took place in 2011 and at this time, the parent company changed its name to Wendy’s company and they retained a nearly 20 percent ownership in Arby’s, making it a part owner of the franchise.
11. Arby’s set a world record in 2013
This is a fun fact about Arby’s that we bet you didn’t know. In February of 2013, the largest curly fry in the world was created. Kim Medford found the fry at the Waynesville, North Carolina location. The fry was measured 38 inches in length and it qualified as the longest on record. We’d say that she got her money’s worth in her basket of curly fries.
12. Arby’s was the first to show concern for patrons health
This may sound odd for a fast-food chain that serves deep-fried curly fries, but it’s true. Arby’s was the very first of the larger fast-food chains to place a ban on cigarette and cigar smoking in all of its restaurants. Although this is a common practice today, back in the 1960s through the 1980s, there were restaurants that would actually provide ashtrays for their guests who smoked cigarettes. In fact, before 1994 when the ban went into effect, there were quite a few patrons who would smoke inside the restaurant and affect others with their second hand smoke. Arby’s took the initiative to give their guests a clean and healthy environment in which to enjoy their meals and they pioneered the restaurant ban on public smoking.
13. There isn’t an Arby’s in Rhode Island or Vermont
These two states on the Eastern seaboard are the only two in the union who don’t have an Arby’s within their borders. If you live in one of these states and you don’t feel quite right about the situation, you may want to consider buying into a franchise and going into business.
14. Ohio has the most Arby’s locations
We’re not really that surprised to learn that Ohio is the state that has the highest number of Arby’s restaurant locations within its borders. It does make sense, since the first Arby’s opened in the city of Boardman, Ohio. In a similar vein, the original location is still standing in the same spot today. There are a total of 268 Arby’s restaurants in Ohio, for the record.
15. Jon Stewart has been picking on Arby’s
We’re still trying to figure out why Jon Stewart likes to poke fun at Arby’s. He has made a lot of different comments about the chain and when the total number of quips that he made about them publicly were counted, it was discovered that he poked fun at them a total of 29 times in just two years. This is just on the record though. We have no idea how many times he may have done this unofficially and in the privacy of his own home or his car. The comments haven’t been particularly flattering and included things like “It’s like shock and awe for your bowels,” and “Why not challenge your stomach to a fight?”
16. Arby’s could fill an Olympic sized pool with the amount of shakes they sell
This is a fun bit of trivia that we learned about Arby’s. they sell enough shakes in a single month to fill up an Olympic sized swimming pool. That’s a lot of milkshakes. We also learned that Arby’s cut a deal with Tom Arnold to let him jump into this pool as a part of his contract with them for doing the voice of the Oven Mitt.
17. Hank Aaron owned an Arby’s franchise
Yep, it’s absolutely true. The baseball great Hank Aaron with his 755 career home runs was an Arby’s franchisee at one time in his life. All we really have to say about this is Mr. Aaron’s taste in fast-food was impeccable. Of course, this opinion may be a bit biased.
18. Ephrata, Pennsylvania is the busiest Arby’s in the United States
In case you were wondering which Arby’s restaurant is the most popular, it has to be the one in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. How do we know this? We found out because we read the statistics that Arby’s keeps on its restaurants. This crew is kept on its toes with a steady stream of customer traffic. Their daily averages are nothing short of mind-blowing. This single location serves an average of 103 orders of curly fries in a day, 94 shakes, 30 turnovers, 300 mozzarella sticks and 913 entrees. How’s that for keeping busy?
19. Tom Arnold provides the voice for the Oven Mitt
We alluded to this fact earlier, but we find it fascinating that he was the man behind the talking Oven Mitt. The ad campaign that featured Arnold’s voice ran in 2003 in case you don’t remember it. There is an ongoing debate over which was the most memorable performance. It seems to be a toss up between the Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure, or the Arby’s ad. The current voice you’ll hear for current Arby’s campaign is Ving Rhames with their “We Have the Meat” slogan.
20. Arby’s was first intended to be an upscale restaurant
When you go into an Arby’s restaurant, it’s far from upscale. Not to disrespect my favorite fast-food place, but the seats are uncomfortable to sit in and the restaurants are no fancier than any other of the burger joints. Although it was their original intention to go high-class, when it came down to planning out the initial strategy for the franchise, the idea lost steam in favor of being practical and conserving funds. We must admit that it would have been nice to have an upscale atmosphere and luxury surroundings, but on the downside, we’re pretty sure that the environment would have come with a hefty difference in the cost of the menu items. With this in mind, we’re pleased with the prices and can do without the upscale amenities.