Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where's the beef [in a lean economy]?

When I was in college, I worked for a time at an Arby's fast food restaurant in northern New Jersey (Route 10, East Hanover, for those who must know the exacts - I think it's gone now). I worked the kitchen, making the food.

Did you know that the "roast beef" came shrink-wrapped, packed in cardboard boxes, with a label on it that explained how to warm it up in the ovens? The bright yellow-orange-y "cheese" that oozes onto the Beef 'n Cheddar sandwiches came in big tins that we dropped into hot water to soften up. The labels on those cans said "cheddar cheese sauce". We'd open up the tin, stick a pump in the sauce, and that's how the "cheddar" got dispensed. The beef slices had to be weighed on little scales before going onto the buns. Each type of sandwich got a certain weight of meat, indicated by little labels stickered onto the scale.

Now, this all may sound horrid, like a chapter of out Fast Food Nation. But I admit that I came to really, really like Arby's sandwiches, especially the Beef 'n Cheddars. Umm, yummy salty goopy goodness... Because I worked the kitchen, I'd pump extra yellow onto my extra-meat weighted sandwiches - hooray for double sauce and double meat without paying for it!

Now we see that Arby's isn't doing so well during the recession. In fact, according to this article in Slate.com, my former beefy employer has been in trouble for awhile, in part because the restaurant chain is concentrated in the Midwest where the recession came early and has taken up long-term residence.

If I was consulting for Arby's, I'd recommend that they nix most of their menu. Offer roast beef with sauce options (Arby's sauce, their "horsey" sauce, and the aforementioned yellow cheddar sauce), the deep-fried potato cakes, the battered curly fries, and the apple turnovers. And that's it! No salads or chicken or deli-meat sandwiches or toasted subs -- I mean, huh? In lean times, focus on what you do best.

And for Arby's, that's oven-warmed shrink-wrapped beef and pump-dispensed cheddar sauce. Bullseye!

1 comment:

  1. Hi I liked your information is very interesting ... these blogs about such interesting topics and I think I should love to offer more of these items as excellent ... thanks for the post


Leave your gift of wit and wisdom.