Bringing Focus to Arby's

by Craig Johnson    June 4, 2014

If I could get my hands on one brand, without a doubt, it would be Arby's.

Arbys

Where do I begin with Arby’s brand problems?  I could talk about it for hours and have, but it’s actually very simple at the core.  Inexplicably, Arby’s refuses to build it’s brand around Roast Beef.  

Roast Beef is what Arby’s was founded on.  It’s name is even “R.B.”  And it’s the only fast food chain that is known for its roast beef product.  Yet Arby’s refuses to market itself around roast beef.  Every ad I see for Arby’s is about some new salad or some turkey or fish sandwich.  This would be like Chick-fil-A refusing to market its Chicken Sandwich – the one thing it does better than anyone else.

Arby’s has gone through a host of taglines even in recent years, including “Good Mood Food” and “Slicing up Freshness”.  How about something, anything that has roast beef in it – it could be as simple as “The Best Roast Beef”.  Again, imagine Chick-fil-A all of a sudden removing it’s “Eat Mor Chikin” cow campaign in favor of a “Feel Good While You Eat” campaign.  That’s basically What Arby’s has done.

This past weekend, I had this conversation with my 9 year old son:

Me: Do you know what McDonalds is known for?
Son: Burgers
Me: Do you know what Chick-fil-A is known for?
Son: Chicken
Me: Do you know what Arby’s is known for?
Son: uh…..salads?

The possibilities are endless for Arby’s if someone has the guts (read: common sense) to get back to the roots of the organization and build that brand around roast beef.

4 thoughts on “Bringing Focus to Arby’s”

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. To a point, Arby’s has found they cannot grow with the Roast Beef only approach. I think that’s the major thing they’re up against. Extending the brand into other, similar, products does make sense, but it seems as though they’re embarrassed of their beefy goodness (jokes are welcomed.) It seemed as though they were trying to expand upon their offering with the Good Mood Food and Slicing Up Freshness, but they just missed the mark completely. That roast beef is the ONE thing no other QSR is able to produce (I think Hardee’s did for a minute, but don’t see it marketed any more.) High five.

  2. I imagine Arby’s has been trying to downplay their beef roots, given that we’ve been suffering through several decades of anti-beef rhetoric. Fortunately, we’re now seeing the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat start to crumble, and beef is re-emerging as a healthy and requisite part of the human diet. A perfect time to Arby’s to return to it’s roots!
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/03/17/290846811/dont-fear-the-fat-experts-question-saturated-fat-guidelines

  3. Excellent points. Makes no sense to run from your roots, regardless of what the press is saying about saturated fats or fast food. The kind of people who would eat at Arby’s aren’t going to be swayed by that anyway. Missed opportunity for sure.

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