Happy Anniversary Arby's! Restaurant Beefs Up Fast Food Industry for 35 Years

Aug 23, 1999, 01:00 ET from Arby's

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1964, the Beatles, boxing and
 beef helped shape the culture of America.  The "Fab Four" invaded the United
 States.  Cassius Clay won the world heavyweight championship.  And, the first
 Arby's restaurant opened its doors in Boardman, Ohio.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990823/CLMFNS1-a
              http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990823/CLMFNS1-b )
     Decades later, fast food aficionados would voice their "beef" with
 hamburger chains as they searched for protein in a sea of condiments and
 carbohydrates.  But in 1964, consumers discovered that the beef was in
 Boardman, and that they could find it at Arby's.
     "Arby's instantly beefed up the food service industry," Bob Rogers,
 RTM/Arby's president, said.  "Now with a worldwide presence of more than 3,000
 restaurants, Arby's continues to provide customers with high-quality food and
 industry innovations."
     Sensing the fast food industry's potential, brothers Forrest and Leroy
 Raffel decided to develop a franchise operation based on food other than
 hamburgers.  A late-night excursion to a small Boston sandwich shop provided
 the inspiration for the Raffels, who joined a determined huddle of patrons to
 await the main attraction -- roast beef sandwiches.
     The idea was born.
     The only kink in development came with choosing the name.  The partners
 wanted to use "Big Tex," but were unsuccessful in negotiating with the Akron
 businessman already using that name.
     "We came up with Arby's, which stands for R.B., the initials of Raffel
 Brothers," Forrest Raffel said.  "Although, customers might think the initials
 stand for roast beef."
     Arby's original menu was limited to 69 cent roast beef sandwiches, potato
 chips and Texas-sized iced tea.  One year later, the first licensee opened an
 Arby's in Akron, Ohio.
     Today, more than 500 licensees operate more than 3,000 Arby's restaurants
     While the roast beef sandwich remains Arby's signature, the restaurant
 constantly updates the menu.  The latest items are SideKickers(TM), which
 include appetizers such as jalapeno bites, onion petals and mozzarella sticks.
     Things are changing on the outside, as well.  New Arby's feature a
 revamped design, which includes a pinnacle atrium as part of the restaurant's
     "The pinnacle restaurants symbolize the beginning of a renewed presence
 for Arby's.  We are confident the millennium will provide a tremendous
 opportunity for growth," Rogers said.
     RTM Inc. owns approximately 700 Arby's franchise sites across the nation.
 The company expects to open 50 new Arby's over the next three years and
 remodel many of its existing Arby's to include the new atrium design and other
     Arby's will celebrate its anniversary with a week-long series of
 festivities in mid September, including the Arby's Charity Tour Golf