Many a school kid knows the mental dread cafeteria mystery meat. In your heart of hearts, you have to believe that the suspicious slab that got slapped on your plate came from one or more creatures found on planet Earth — though, 3D-printed space beef is technically now an option. But hope doesnt make your taste buds tremble any less. Fast food should not be of that same inscrutable ilk, elk, or any other unexpected protein. But Arbys, the famed haver of meats, has had to grapple with customer uncertainty about the true origins of its roast beef.
The name should be self explanatory — its beef of the roasted variety. Yet when Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributor John Kessler asked the internet what Arbys roast beef actually is, Ask.com responded with culinary nightmare fuel: “At Arbys, the roast beef is delivered in a liquid form in a bag. Then employees will squirt the liquid onto a flat tray and bake at 350 degrees for a specified amount of time, which turns the liquid into a solid … made into a sandwich.” Yikes. Thats the opposite of appetizing. Luckily, its also the opposite of true.
Arby’s is trying to shed their roast beef-only image
Arbys may have built their business on roast beef, but in recent years, theyve been trying to stress to customers — current and potential — that its not all theyre about.
In 2018, they launched a new ad campaign with the slogan, “Arbys. We have the meats… for sandwiches”. According to The Wall Street Journal, the entire campaign was designed to let people know that theres much more to Arbys than just roast beef, and theyre not shy about saying that. The campaigns “head of sandwiches” character moans about people who “still think Arbys is just roast beef,” and that “The last time you went to Arbys you were with your grandparents who ate exclusively roast beef, every meal, somehow.”
Thats some serious shade to throw to a staple product line, but marketing chief Jim Taylor says theyre not turning their back on their roast beef entirely. Roast beef is staying, but theyre also looking to appeal to a younger crowd that typically gravitates toward sandwiches of all kinds, instead of just their grandparents roast beef.
Roast beef was chosen to attract a higher-end clientele
Leroy and Forrest Raffel opened Arbys on July 23, 1964, says Business Wire. They did it at a time when everyone else was doing burgers, and their original menu of fresh-sliced roast beef was considered something completely out of the box. (Fun fact: those curly fries werent added until the 1980s.)
Burger giants McDonalds and Burger King were still fairly new when the Raffel brothers decided to get into the fast food game. They had seen just how popular the fast food burger joint was, so why deviate? They wanted to offer something that would set them apart from the competition, but they also wanted to be the high-class fast food place.
“On the day we opened, the McDonalds hamburger was 15 cents and our sandwich was 69 cents,” Leroy Raffel told NBC. “So, you had to be a little more affluent to buy our sandwich.”
Decades later, their more expensive menu was cited as one of the major factors in their flailing business. In 2011, the joint corporation of Wendys and Arbys was looking at pretty miserable sales, which industry analyst chalked up to a combination of a menu thats more expensive than other chains and inconsistent performance (via QSR).
Yes, it does come pre-packaged in a weird solution
Urban legends have to come from somewhere, right? Snopes says the origin of the tall tale might be related to the admittedly weird way the meat is shipped to the store. Each Arbys location receives their roast beef in airtight bags, and when they get it, it does look a little suspect. Snopes describes it as “kind of grayish and rather soft and squishy”… and that doesnt sound like most traditional types of meat, does it?
They add that its probably not the meat youre seeing in the bag — theres also a “gelatinous broth” the hunk of meat is soaking in. Between the jelly-like broth, the weird color, and the squishiness of the bags contents, its easy to see how someone who never actually opened the bag might make the mental leap to the idea that the contents are less-than-solid. But Arbys — and their employees — assure customers thats just not the case.
Feb 10, 2023 · The claim basically says their roast beef is actually imitation meat, made When it comes to what Arby’s is trying to do, it’s impact
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