Arby’s CEO on fast-food challenges, custom orders

Arby's CEO on fast-food challenges, custom orders

Arby’s, the chain known for its roast beef sandwiches, is trying to stand out in the crowded fast-food industry. It’s marketing its meats as being of superior quality and pushing to let customers know they can order sandwiches sans onions or mayo.

It launched TV ads this summer featuring close-ups of its meats on a carving board. Actor Ving Rhames provides a voiceover: “We have the meats!” And now it’s introducing a line of steak sandwiches for the suggested price of $5.49.

The efforts come after the struggling chain was jettisoned by Wendy’s in 2011 and acquired by private-equity firm Roark Capital Group. The year before, Arby’s had said sales tumbled 9 percent, following a 6 percent drop the previous year. Deteriorating franchisee finances led to the closure of many locations.

The Atlanta-based chain, which now has 3,200 U.S. locations, no longer has to disclose sales figures as a privately held company. But CEO Paul Brown says it’s on a streak of 16 straight quarters of sales growth at established locations.

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