Arby's, known for its commercials featuring actor Ving Rhames’ distinctive voice belting out “We have the meats,” plans to dish out more roast beef and turkey with an expansion in the New York City metro area, including Long Island.
The fast-food chain has 10 new restaurants under construction or in advanced stages of development through franchise deals in the metro area, including Centereach, Farmingdale, Freeport and Hempstead, said Greg Vojnovic, chief development officer at Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc.’s parent company, Atlanta-based Inspire Brands Inc.
“We built our first two Arby’s restaurants in New York City (in 2015 and 2017) as a proof of concept, and the response has been remarkable. We believe we can replicate these great restaurants throughout New York City and the greater metropolitan area,” he said in an email.
A Monmouth, New Jersey-based franchisee, AR Chain of Restaurants, signed an Arby’s franchise deal in 2017 to open 25 new restaurants in six years, with a focus on New York and Pennsylvania. It has five Arby’s planned in the New York City metro area, including a drive-thru at 760 Fulton Ave. in Hempstead for which it recently signed a lease, said Akbar Durrani, director of development and a partner at AR Chain of Restaurants.
The franchisee also just signed a lease for an Arby’s drive-thru at 360 Atlantic Ave. in Freeport, Durrani said.
“New York doesn’t have a lot of Arby’s. It’s an open market and it’s a good market. The current Arby’s there are actually doing very well,” he said.
Currently, there are five Arby’s on Long Island and four in New York City.
The Arby’s planned for Fulton Avenue in Hempstead will open in December in a 2,000-square-foot former dentist’s office, Durrani said. The 2,300-square-foot Freeport location will open in 2019, he said.
A Roslyn Heights-based franchisee, Long Island Roast Beef Group LLC, owns an Arby’s that opened at 2080 Hempstead Tpke. in East Meadow in July 2017 and has signed leases to open two more 2,500-square-foot drive-thrus at 1759 Middle Country Rd. in Centereach by March and at 1050 Broadhollow Rd. in Farmingdale by early 2020, said Barry Lubman, managing partner.
The group wants to expand Arby’s more into Suffolk County, he said.
The chain is growing because the image of the company has changed to that of an eatery with a diverse menu, Lubman said.
“It’s not just roast beef anymore,” he said.
Of the 3,415 Arby’s eateries in seven countries, 96 percent are in the United States — and most are concentrated from the Midwest to Southwest, according to the website.
The private company declined to disclose its future growth plans outside the metro area.
Calculated growth has worked for Arby’s, which flies under the radar with a nontraditional sandwich menu, said David Henkes, advisory group senior principal at Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based restaurant industry research firm.
“They’ve been sort of taking more of a deliberate approach to growing their units. And, so, I think that’s in contrast to some of these chains that over-expand,” he said.
Of the top 500 chain restaurants last year, Arby’s ranked 20th in U.S. sales — with a 1.3 percent increase to $3.6 billion — and increased its U.S. restaurants by 1.4 percent to 3,283, according to Technomic.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at email@example.com.