Arby’s was founded in Boardman, Ohio on July 23, 1964, by brothers Forrest and Leroy Raffel, of New Castle, PA. Forrest “Fuzzy” Raffel was a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration while Leroy studied Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1950s, the brothers bought their uncle’s restaurant equipment business and created Raffel Brothers Inc. which quickly became one of the country’s leading foodservice consulting firms. They designed and installed school and hospital kitchens as well as airport flight kitchens at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Inspired by the success of other fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, the brothers decided to take a chance and open a restaurant of their own. Their vision was simple: to sell quarter-pound roast beef sandwiches the way McDonald’s sold hamburgers. Their first menu items were roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks. They originally wanted to name their restaurant “Big Tex,” but since that name was already in use by another company, they chose the name “Arby’s,” based on R. B., the initials of Raffel Brothers. Contrary to popular belief, R.B. does not have anything to do with “roast beef”!
Wanting to position Arby’s like a more upscale restaurant, they designed their decor to be more eye-catching than your average fast food restaurant of the day. That first restaurant featured a beef roast on a rotisserie behind a glass case and had just ten seats. The restaurant also offered their roast beef sandwiches for $.69, almost five times the price of a McDonald’s hamburger, which was being sold for $.15. Their strategy proved to be a success, however, and soon Arby’s was experiencing rapid growth. The first franchise opened the following year, in 1965. By the end of the 1960s, there were over 300 locations in 40 states.
As Arby’s expanded throughout the early 1970s, the brothers ran into financial trouble and eventually had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. They recovered quickly and began growing again, eventually selling the company in 1976 to Royal Crown Cola Company for $18 million. With the sale, headquarters moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Leroy Raffel remained CEO until his retirement in 1979.
General Restaurant Information
Food Type: Sandwiches
Restaurant Type: Fast Food
U.S. Locations: 3,237
States: 48states, Arby’s Locations
Company Slogan: The chain has had a number of slogans over the years. The current one is “We have the meats!” Courtesy of fandom.com, here are some historical ones used by the company over the years.
Arby’s. Now That Your Tastes Have Grown Up (88-92)
What are you eating today? (92-94)
I’m thinking different, I’m thinking Arby’s (98-00)
It’s Good Mood Food (00-02)
Questions: Arby’s Contact Information
Phone number: 800-599-2729
Email: Contact Form Only
Blog: Arby’s Blog
FAQ Page: Arby’s Frequently Asked Questions
Who Owns Arby’s? Inspire Brands who is owned by Roark Capital Group
Headquartered: Atlanta, Georgia
Email/contact page: Roark Capital Contact Page
Phone: (404) 591-5200 or (212) 806-6000
Address: 1180 Peachtree St NE, Suite 2500, Atlanta, GA 30309
Do They Franchise? Franchise Information
In 1978, the chain introduced a new sandwich, the Beef ‘n Cheddar, which was wildly successful and has remained mostly unchanged to this day. They have since created several other menu items, including Jamocha Shakes, chicken sandwiches, Curly Fries, and two signature sauces: Arby’s Sauce and Horsey Sauce. Baked potatoes were added to the menu in 1985, and 1988 Curly-Q Fries were introduced, what we now know as Curly Fries.
What Is It Like To Work At Arby’s?
3.6/5 or 72%; 8,200 Reviews (indeed.com)
3.4/5, or 68%; 1,400 Reviews (glassdoor.com)
The History of Arby’s
Original Location: 90 Boardman-Canfield (Poland) Road (corner of Route 224 and Amherst Ave), Boardman, OH
Founded: July 23, 1964
Founded By: Leroy & Forrest Raffel
The Raffel Brothers (riversidecemeteryjournal.com)
Forrest Bernard “Fuzzy” Raffel (findagrave.com)
The Raffel Brothers (riversidecemeteryjournal.com)
Name Origin: They originally wanted to name their restaurant “Big Tex” but since that name was already in use by another company, they chose the name “Arby’s,” based on R. B., the initials of Raffel Brothers. Contrary to popular belief, R.B. does not, in fact, have anything to do with “roast beef”!
History Page: Arby’s History Page
Current View of Original Location: 90 Boardman-Canfield Road as it is today (link may not work on mobile devices without Google Maps)
What Does Arby’s Name Mean? It’s Not What You Think (wideopeneats.com)
Arby’s History (company-histories.com)
Founder discusses the legacy of the fast-food chain that began in Youngstown (metromonthly.com)
Arby’s celebrates 49 years (vindy.com)
Green | Eco-Friendly: Arby’s Polluting the Ocean (thedailymeal.com)
Arby’s Commits to 100% Cage Free Eggs by 2020 (cagefreefuture.com)
Arby’s Pledges To Stop Supporting Gestation Crates (humanesociety.org)
Interestingly, Arby’s also became the first fast food restaurant to offer a complete “lite” menu in 1991, with several low-fat sandwiches and salads to choose from. Arby’s innovation continued with its line of Market Fresh sandwiches, introduced in 2001 and as of 2012, roast turkey was also added to its menu. Today, the chain offers Angus steak, brisket, corned beef, bacon, turkey, chicken, and ham sandwiches as part of their regular menu.
Discounts At Arby’s
Rewards Program: Arby’s Reward Program
Please use this link to find Arby’s’s locations so that you can call your local store to inquire.
Do Kids Eat Free at Arby’s?
Summary: No resources found.
Here are a few great Kids Eat Free resources for you to bookmark –
Happy Money Saver: Kids Eat Free List (sorted alpha)
Passionate Penny Pincher: Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free (sorted by day of the week)
Penny Pinchin’ Mom: Kids Eat Free List (sorted by day of the week)
Money Saving Mom: Kids Eat Free, The Master List (sorted alpha)
Does Arby’s Offer Military Discounts?
Summary: Generally, they do offer a military discount but the percentage varies from location to location so check with your restaurant.
Here are a few great Military Discounts for you to bookmark –
These 20 restaurants have the best military discounts (milspousefest.com)
Veteran’s Day Free Meals and Restaurant Deals and Discounts (military.com)
Military Discounts Offered By Stores, Services and Online Sites (militarybenefits.info)
Veteran and Military Deals & Discounts (militaryconnection.com)
Veteran’s Day Free Meals & Discounts – Over 100 Free Meals (themilitarywallet.com)
What Does Arby’s offer for My Birthday!?
Summary: Arby’s currently offers free items for your birthday when you are signed up for their email list (items vary based on your location).
Below are a couple of sites that will help you enjoy your next birthday!
100+ Instant Free Restaurant Meals – Just Sign Up! (birthdaycandle.com)
Restaurant Birthday Freebies (heyitsfree.net)
101+ Restaurants with Free Food on Your Birthday (wallethacks.com)
Does Arby’s Offer First Responder Discounts?
Summary: No resources were found.
There aren’t many out there, but here are a few great First Responder Discounts for you to bookmark –
100+ Discounts for Firefighters and First Responders (bradsdeals.com)
95+ First Responder Discounts (offers.com)
Does Arby’s Offer Senior Citizen | AARP Discounts?
Summary: At this time Arby’s does not offer any senior citizen discounts.
If you are 50 or older, there may be a restaurant (and other retail locations) that you can take advantage of. Here are a few resources to refer to –
Senior Citizen Discounts by State (seniorcitizendiscountlist.org)
List of Senior Discounts On Restaurants (theseniorlist.com)
Amazing Dining Deals (aarp.com)
40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts (wisebread.com)
Are There Any Other Discounts or Benefits at Arby’s?
Summary: Arby’s offers its Loyalty Program which provides several ongoing benefits. Check their page for current information and promotions. Also, make sure and check out our Rewards Program Page for links to all restaurants featured on Back of the Menu.
Order Online: No
WiFi Available: Yes
Use Apple Pay: Yes
Catering: Arby’s Catering Menu
Open 24 Hours: No
Customer Reviews of Arby’s
Yelp: 3.00/5 or 60%, 841 reviews sampled
Tripadvisor: 3.7/5 or 75%, 593 reviews sampled
Overall (weighted) Average: 3.31/5 or 66%, 1,434 reviews sampled
Arby's & Related Items on Amazon
Food & Nutrition
Menu: Arby’s Menu
Kids Menu: Arby’s Kids Menu
Most Popular Menu Item: Roast Beef Classic
Coke or Pepsi: Coke
Serve Alcohol: No
Nutritional Information: Arby’s Nutrition Guide
Vegetarian | Vegan Options:
14 Fast Food Chains Vegans Can Actually Eat At (theodysseyonline.com)
What You Should Be Ordering at Major Fast Food Chains if You’re Vegetarian (spoonunivesity.com)
Vegan Options At Popular Fast Food Chains (onegreenplanet.org)
Here’s How to Eat Vegan at Your Favorite Chain Restaurants (chooseveg.com)
Eating Vegan at National Restaurant Chains (insteading.com)
Your Best Vegan Option at 35 Popular Restaurants (eatthis.com)
Clean Eating (farm to table, organic options, non-GMO, etc): No resources found.
Here are a few great resources for you as you look for clean eating options when you dine out. –
The Best Farm-to-table Restaurant in Every State (travelandleisure.com)
Clean Eating Dining Out Guide (cookinglight.com)
How to eat clean even if you’re eating out (mindbodygreen.com)
7 Rules For Clean Eating When You’re Eating Out (coreperformance.com)
Miscellaneous Nutrition Resources:
Arby’s Nutrition (fastfoodmenunutrition.com)
Arby’s Menu Nutrition (fastfoodnutrition.org)
Nutrition Facts and Calorie Information (nutrition-charts.com)
Allergen Information: Arby’s Allergen Guide
Gluten Free Options:
Arby’s Gluten Free Menu (urbantastebud.com)
32 Best Gluten Free Burger Joints You Must Experience at Least Once (#1) (urbantastebud.com)
Dairy Free Options:
Arby’s Dairy Free Options (godairyfree.org)
Restaurant Guide For Dairy-Free Dining (godairyfree.org)
Peanut Free Options: No resources found, but the following may be helpful to you.
Food Allergy Guides For Many Chain Restaurants (verywellhealth.com)
Ways to Eliminate Risks of Peanut Allergy When Dining Out (healthguidance.org)
Does Arby’s Have Any Secret Recipes?
Arby’s Secret Recipes:
Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad (copykat.com)
Apple Cherry Turnovers (copykat.com)
Jamocha Shake (topsecretrecipes.com)
Arby’s Sauce (topsecretrecipes.com)
Bronco Berry Sauce (topsecretrecipes.com)
Lite Menu Roast Chicken Deluxe (topsecretrecipes.com)
Lite Menu Roast Turkey Deluxe (topsecretrecipes.com)
Beef and Cheddar (4sonrus.com)
Did You Know?
Arby’s is America’s second largest sandwich chain after Subway. There are over 3,300 locations in the US as well as international locations in Canada, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, and Kuwait.
In 2014, Arby’s ran a 13-hour beef brisket commercial. Though watching that sounds incredibly boring, it did set a Guinness World Record for “the longest running commercial on TV.” (source)
Every state has an Arby’s except for Rhode Island and Vermont. (source)
In 1994, Arby’s was the first fast food restaurant to ban smoking in all company locations and franchises nationally, well before all other fast food chains followed suit. (source)
The world’s longest curly fry was 38 inches long and found at an Arby’s in NC. (source)
Arby’s sells enough shakes each month to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. (source)
As Arby’s menu expanded to offer other types of meats, they advertised with a poster showing all the different meats stacked on a single sandwich. People who saw the picture started asking for the sandwich with all the meats on it. While not a menu item at all, the so-called “Meat Mountain” is available, and if you ask for it by name, they will make it for you. (source)
During the 2014 Grammys, artist Pharrell Williams wore a hat that resembled the Arby’s logo. Arby bought the hat for $44,100, and the money was donated to a children’s charity. (source)
In the last few years, Arby’s has started offering limited-time sandwiches made with non-traditional meats such as venison, elk and duck, in a few select Arby’s locations that are located in popular areas during hunting season. (source)
The famous Arby’s Jamocha shake was introduced in the mid-1960s and was one of the first frozen coffee drinks to gain popularity. (source)
In 2018 Arby’s switched from carrying Pepsi products to Coca-Cola. To announce this change, Arby’s set a Guinness World Record for both the smallest and largest advertisement. The smallest advertisement was 735.36 microns and was printed on a sesame seed. The largest advertisement was almost 5 acres. (source)
The company acquired the famous wing chain, Buffalo Wild Wings in 2017 for $2.4 Billion.
Too Much Beef (slate.com)
11 Things You Didn’t Know About Arby’s (thrillist.com)
11 Meaty Facts About Arby’s (mentalfloss.com)
Things you didn’t know about Arby’s (foxnews.com)
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Arby’s (wideopeneats.com)
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Arby’s (money.com)
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Arby’s (thedailymeal.com)
Tasting Arby’s duck sandwich (nrn.com)
Arby's & Related Items on Amazon
Arby’s on Social Media
Followers (as of October 2018) –
Arby’s does not have any mobile apps at this time
For an alphabetical listing of all our restaurants, simply go to our Restaurants Page.
I love how the Raffel Brother’s took something that was already working so well (McDonald’s) and changed it to make it different enough yet wildly successful. Before Chick-Fil-A came along, Arby’s was often my go-to for fast food. Their restaurants, at least in our area of the country, always did seem to be a bit more “upscale” than their burger counterparts and I liked that they offered something different. Now 55 years old, the company still looks and strives to be different than their competitors. Over the years not only did they provide a varied menu from others, but they were also the first fast-food restaurant in 1994 to ban smoking from their locations. More recently they were the first to market and sell unique big game meats like deer and bison and in the last couple of years broaden their horizons with the acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings. I think it’s safe to say they will be around for years to come.