Sandwich fans hungry for beef that's not in the form of a patty can turn to this company. Arby's Restaurant Group (ARG) operates the Arby's fast food chain popular for its hot roast beef sandwiches. Arby's ranks as the #3 sandwich chain behind Subway and Quiznos with more than 3,600 locations across the US and in a handful of other countries. In addition to roast beef sandwiches, its menu features chicken sandwiches, salads, and some dessert items. More than 1,100 Arby's locations are company-owned, while the rest are franchised. The chain was started in 1964 by brothers Forrest and Leroy Raffel. In mid-2011, The Wendy's Company sold a majority stake in Arby's to Roark Capital Group.
The Wendy's Company still controls 18.5% of Arby's. As part of the deal worth a total of $430 million, Roark Capital agreed to pay $130 million in cash for an 81.5% stake in Arby's and assume $190 million of the sandwich chain's debt. Roark Capital intends to sink $50 million into Arby's as it looks to turn around the aging concept.
While Arby's continues to promote itself as an alternative to the traditional burger and fries menu, it has become lost in the fast-food shuffle amid marketing blitzes from bigger brands such as Quiznos, Subway, and Taco Bell. The Wendy's Company invested heavily in efforts to remodel and update many of its Arby's locations and expand value-priced selections. Arby's, like its larger rivals in the fast-food business, focuses on franchising -- licensing rights to the brand name and marketing to local operators such as United States Beef in exchange for royalties and fees -- to manage its network of restaurants, but the company is a bit unique in the industry because such a large percentage of its estate is made up of corporate-run locations. The company-owned outlets account for the bulk of Arby's sales and gives the company a large footprint from which to quickly make changes to how the chain operates. – less