Arby’s: We have the meats, never the un-meats

Image for article titled Arby’s: We have the meats, never the un-meats
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

In the early tens (or whatever we’re calling this present decade), Arby’s was struggling. After all, it’s hard to sling piles of sliced meat when the general trend in quicker, cheaper dining continues to move in ever more health-conscious directions.


Then, in 2014, Arby’s decided that it would no longer deny its true nature. It would instead revel in it, celebrating its status as a last refuge for devout carnivores finding themselves pushed aside by the changing culinary tides. They hired Ving Rhames to tell the world that “We Have the Meats;” they began piling on the portions more generously than ever before, and as fate would have it, the gambit worked. Arby’s came back, against the odds.

However, as meatless alternative options from companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat continue to make their way into the fast-food arena, restaurants will have to decide whether to join in the brave new post-meat world. But if Arby’s president Rob Lynch has anything to say on the matter, the restaurants will continue to have the meats, and the animal meats alone.

In an interview with Fortune, after rumors emerged earlier this week that Arby’s is considering adding Impossible products to its menu, Lynch was adamant that no such plans are being made: “It won’t happen on my watch... The only way would be if I got fired for some reason.” Lynch, shaking a defiant fist presumably full of roast beef slices in the face of such falsehoods, also noted that “you have to stand for something... We’ve turned this brand around by making big, high quality, meaty, abundant sandwiches. That’s who we are.”

For those who like to describe their ideal sandwich as “abundant,” sleep easily tonight as you begin your holiday weekend. Arby’s has taken the black for meat lovers the world over, yesterday and today and tomorrow.



I don’t really care if a restaurant branches out into meatless item or not.  However, I do understand wanting to have a brand identity.  Arby’s identity is roast beef, and that's okay.  I feel like, if you branch out in an uncontrolled way, you dilute your market identity and also string out your staff trying to be too many things to too many people.