Roy Rogers, which rode off Long Island when it closed its Shirley store in 2010, is eyeing a return to the competitive fast-food market here.
Jim Plamondon, co-president of Roy Rogers Franchise Co. in Frederick, Maryland, says the chain has talked to possible franchise owners in the Nassau-Suffolk market, while it continues to expand in other markets, including nearby New Jersey.
“We are having a dialogue, and we are very interested in coming back to Long Island,” Plamondon said. “We hope that the Long Island market develops for us in the near term, but I don’t want to set a specific timetable.”
Plamondon said one of the biggest challenges has been finding affordable real estate.
“It’s a tougher market because it’s already dense,” he said. “It’s the same challenge we face as we get closer to the big cities everywhere. The real estate isn’t cheap.”
Roy Rogers has opened six stores so far this year, including three in New Jersey. Those restaurants are in Brick, Edison and Flemington. The chain also opened two eateries in Maryland and another in Virginia.
A restaurant in Matamoras, Pennsylvania, near Port Jervis, New York, is to open in the first quarter of 2017.
Roy Rogers, which currently has 54 U.S. stores, was created in 1968 by the Marriott Corp., and it was bought by Hardee’s in 1990. Plamondon said the acquirer planned to convert Roy Rogers to Hardee’s, but stopped once the early conversions failed.
Many of the New York metro area Roy Rogers locations were then sold off to other chains, including Wendy’s and Burger King.