Arbys is a chain of quick service sandwich restaurants that was first founded in 1964 in Boardman, Ohio by Forrest and Leroy Raffel. Originally they want to name their new restaurant venture Big Tex, but the name was already taken. The name that was finally agreed upon was Arbys, which was a play off the initials R and B for Raffel Brothers. R B then became Arbys.
When the restaurant first opened in Boardman, they just served roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks. The menu was pretty basic but was wildly popular. Within a year they already got the request to franchise the restaurant and the brothers obliged. The second Arbys restaurant opened in Akron, Ohio.
By the 1970s the Arbys franchise was enjoying great success in their expansion. In fact there were nearly 1,000 Arbys restaurants opened by the end of that decade across the country. By then though there were several menu items. It was no longer just the upscale roast beef sandwiches, chips, and a drink.
In addition to their new menu items they also introduce a few signature items like their own Arbys Barbecue sauce and horsey sauce. By the early 80s Arbys was no longer just a roast beef sandwich restaurant. They added chicken to the menu as well as salads.
During this time Arbys was also a pioneer in the healthier fast food menu items. Now this was not super popular nationally yet but it was beginning to gain a little steam and Arbys was at the forefront of it.
By the mid 80s though the company was met with some hard times. The company changed ownership which was not successful and was then sold again. After a few ups and downs the Arbys restaurant brand is now regaining its footing again through a combination of company owned Arbys restaurants as well as franchise owned Arbys restaurants.
Today there are over 1,000 Arbys restaurants that are company owned and well over 2,000 Arbys restaurants that are franchise owned. There are international locations in operation as well. These include locations in Canada, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, with more still planned. One thing’s for sure, the concept of the roast beef sandwich is not limited to just the United States of America.
What makes Arbys different is their philosophy. They make great efforts into offering a better tasting sandwich alternative to fast food. From day one the company has always been about their roast beef sandwich. Today that idea is still the same. They may offer quite a few other offerings but you can always get a great tasting roast beef sandwich at Arbys.
Their philosophy also includes giving back to the community through their Arbys Foundation. This foundation was formed in 1995, which includes a series of fundraising events and even corporate golf tournaments in which the proceeds go towards youth-mentoring organizations. These organizations include the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization as well as other local non profit organizations.