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 Arby's, 38 years ago

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FlavorVsTaste

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  • Location: Bloomington, IN
Arby's, 38 years ago Mon, 11/17/08 7:38 PM (permalink)
Help me prove that I am not dreaming all this: In my memory, Arby's used to do two things which few patronizing today's Arby's might recognize. For one thing, their meat was much rarer then than it is now. (The sandwich at the first Arby's we went to in Louisville Kentucky had a bright pink beef in it, a little too rare for my dad, as I recall it.)

The second thing was a big shake of salt on the beef just before serving. The beef was sliced, set it a small pile on the bun bottom on a cutting board, and then salted from a large shaker just before being capped and wrapped. As I remember it, the first TV commercials in our area used to even show the salting.

I can't find an old print ad or tv commercial online to corroborate this, and I haven't found anyone who remembers Arby's ever doing business this way.

Does anyone here remember the rare beef and the shake of salt at earlier Arby's?
 
#1
    Michael Hoffman

    • Total Posts: 17826
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    RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Mon, 11/17/08 7:50 PM (permalink)
    I don't remember any shake of salt, but I do remember that Arby's used to actually roast the beef back then and slice it to order.
     
    #2
      Mosca

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      • Location: Mountain Top, PA
      RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Mon, 11/17/08 8:43 PM (permalink)
      I remember that as well, Michael. They sliced it right in front of you. Now it's like pressed beef dust, or something. The meat equivalent of particle board.
       
      #3
        Michael Hoffman

        • Total Posts: 17826
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        RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Mon, 11/17/08 10:22 PM (permalink)
        Now they use a processed, liquified and then formed product.
         
        #4
          UncleVic

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          RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 2:32 AM (permalink)
          Arby's was good once upon a time.. As mentioned above, they used real food. Forget it today.
           
          #5
            leethebard

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            RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 3:04 AM (permalink)
            Today it's about the worst Chain of all...the least like the product they're claiming they sell!!!
             
            #6
              tfrielin

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              • Location: Athens, GA
              RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 8:30 AM (permalink)
              And they used to have this heated rotating cylinder that they held the buns to for toasting them.

              Why is it that you can make more money using faux meat instead of serving the real thing?

              I haven't had an Arby's shake in decades, but I recall them as being very good back in the '60s/'70s.
               
              #7
                AndreaB

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                • Location: Versailles, KY
                RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 8:58 AM (permalink)
                Arby's was even good in the 80's --- especially the Beef 'N Cheddar and the Super which are now mere shadows of their former selves. The super used to have lots of shredded lettuce and tomatoes and now it has an anemic looking lettuce leaf and one tomato slice. This is the way the Beef 'N Cheddar and the Super used to look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chHDLUxeC9M&feature=related

                Now,

                Andrea
                 
                #8
                  collinf

                  • Total Posts: 159
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                  • Location: Shawnee, KS
                  RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 9:10 AM (permalink)
                  quote:
                  Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

                  I don't remember any shake of salt, but I do remember that Arby's used to actually roast the beef back then and slice it to order.


                  Ditto. That is my recollection, also.
                   
                  #9
                    kland01s

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                    RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 9:36 AM (permalink)
                    I don't remember anything about salting but I do remember the guy just behind the counter slicing the beef to put on your sandwich.
                     
                    #10
                      David_NYC

                      • Total Posts: 2162
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                      • Location: New York, NY
                      RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 11:28 AM (permalink)
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by FlavorVsTaste

                      Does anyone here remember the rare beef and the shake of salt at earlier Arby's?
                      You may be interested in reading this earlier thread on Arby's:
                      http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=22314
                      In that thread, Michael Hoffman stated that he recalls Arby's going to the processed product back in the 70's sometime.

                      Thirty-eight years ago, most of the good mom-and-pop delis where I grew up also used to roast beef from fresh meat delivered by local butchers. If you made a sandwich out of it, you needed to put some salt on the meat. Today, they all just slice Boar's Head, Thumann's, or Dietz and Watson deli roast beef. None of these meats are as rare as when the delis made their own. In the case of the present Arby's product, the salt is added at the factory.
                       
                      #11
                        Robearjr

                        • Total Posts: 1102
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                        • Location: Baltimore, MD
                        RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Tue, 11/18/08 10:21 PM (permalink)
                        I would imagine there are no chains left where you can get rare roast beef or burgers.
                         
                        #12
                          easydoesit

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                          RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 3:00 AM (permalink)
                          I had my first Arby's when I moved to Omaha in 1971. They had that great old ten gallon hat sign. They did roast the meat right there at the counter, and like FlavorVsTaste, it was too rare for my liking. So I would ask them to "steam" the meat, which meant they would press the pile of meat on a little square metal hot thing they had, which if I remember right, was built into the counter. They would do it on both sides for just a few seconds, and it would cook the slices all the way through.

                          As I recall, the sandwiches were huge. It is hard to imagine now, but there was so much meat we would actually take some off and put in on other hamburger buns later.

                          I'd love to try those sandwiches again, to see if my memory is holding up. I've often wondered about many things that used to be good and are not now. Has the food gone downhill or has my taster improved? Boy did I love those little McDonald burgers in the 60's! So different now.

                          Don't remember anything about a salt.
                           
                          #13
                            Holly Moore

                            RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 11:58 AM (permalink)
                            I managed the first ever Arby's franchise. Opened it up. Located in Maple Heights OH. This was 1966 or so. The roast beef sandwich we served then was probably as good or better than any fast food product ever.

                            Top rounds were oven roasted starting in the morning and throughout the day. We put thermopins (huge skewers that conducted heat) through the roasts to balance and speed the cooking process. Roasts were cooked to a medium rare, wrapped in foil, and held in a holding over - I think it was called a Thermotainer, but not sure.

                            We used a precision slicer that cost almost as much as a Volkswagon at the time. It mechanically fed a roast into the slicer and sliced it razor thin. While the roasts were slicing, we "buttered" split sesame seed buns and sent them through a toaster. They came out a golden brown with a bit of butter flavor. A quarter pound of sliced roast beef when on each sandwich, then a shake of seasoning - a mix of salt, pepper and MSG as I recall.

                            We pretty much made these sandwiches to order. During meal periods there were lines out the door and around to the sides of the building.

                            After a few months I went back to college, finished and ended up working New Products for McDonald's. I got the position, rather than the typical trainee position, because of my Arby's management experience. My boss and I proved there were at least three ways that McDonald's could not sell a roast beef sandwich.

                            Then came a serious beef shortage - 1969 or 1970. Cost of beef, be it hamburger or top round, increased maybe 50%. All the fast food businesses had to do something to stay profitable. McDonald's did the right thing. We kept portion and quality the same and raised our price from 15 cents to 18 cents for a hamburger. Arby's took a step that came close to ruining their business. They held the price at 69 cents but switched to a communuted roll - chunks of beef pressed together and bound by a salty binder. It was and still is horrible.

                            With that single step Arby's went from being a major up and coming player to an also-ran. Life lesson for me. Never compromise quality for price.
                             
                            #14
                              leethebard

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                              RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 12:08 PM (permalink)
                              Great story Holly, goes to show how corporate minds work...or sometimes, don't work. Sadly we allow it....Artby's stays in business because people(somehow) frequent it.....if sales had slowed to a trickle,their pressed roast beef experiment might have been nipped in the bud!!!!!We did it to ourselves!!!
                               
                              #15
                                Sundancer7

                                RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 12:17 PM (permalink)
                                Holly, I appreciate your story and history. I do recall when Arby's had a good product and that was many years ago. What they serve now nowhere resembles their orginal product. You would think that some company would carry that original flag?

                                Thanks for sharing that story.

                                Paul E. Smith
                                Knoxville, TN
                                 
                                #16
                                  tfrielin

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                                  RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 2:10 PM (permalink)
                                  quote:
                                  Originally posted by Holly Moore


                                  While the roasts were slicing, we "buttered" split sesame seed buns and sent them through a toaster. They came out a golden brown with a bit of butter flavor.



                                  Am I correct in thinking this buttering of the buns was accomplished by that spinning cylinder that I remember from Arby's in the 1960s? I remember the buns being held to this cylinder that was coated with butter. Do I have that right?

                                   
                                  #17
                                    Holly Moore

                                    RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 2:38 PM (permalink)
                                    Yes. Those are still available now from restaurant supply houses. As I recall the "butter" was a blend of butter and coconut oil, but it has been a while.

                                    I still remember my usually lunch. Two roast beef sandwiches, one topped with horsey sauce, one with barbecue and a Jamocha shake. Good eating that.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      russ2304

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                                      RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Wed, 11/19/08 5:31 PM (permalink)
                                      Hey Holly, Must have been 1961-63 visiting friend in Youngstown we used to drive to Boardman---which I think was the original Arby's and it was just as you say---heaven on a bun-today garbaage on a bun----fond memories ----like original McD shakes and real original KFC all in same time frame !
                                       
                                      #19
                                        tfrielin

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                                        RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Thu, 11/20/08 8:31 AM (permalink)
                                        quote:
                                        Originally posted by Holly Moore

                                        Yes. Those are still available now from restaurant supply houses. As I recall the "butter" was a blend of butter and coconut oil, but it has been a while.

                                        I still remember my usual lunch. Two roast beef sandwiches, one topped with horsey sauce, one with barbecue and a Jamocha shake. Good eating that.


                                        Ahh, coconut oil--another delight that the Pleasure Police have taken away from us! It was the prime ingredient in TV Time Popcorn and it was wonderful back in the days of my youth. Don't think it clogged my arteries, but they had to ban it anyway.

                                        What I wouldn't give to return to the mid-'60s in my time machine with twenty bucks and make the rounds of my favorite eating haunts and get French Fries at McDonald's and a shake, a Shoney's Big Boy, an Arby's sandwich and shake, a Hoggie at Pasquales, and throw in a cherry Coke at the Kresge's counter.

                                        Why did they have to ruin fast food?
                                         
                                        #20
                                          Adjudicator

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                                          RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Thu, 11/20/08 8:32 PM (permalink)
                                          quote:
                                          Originally posted by tfrielin

                                          quote:
                                          Originally posted by Holly Moore

                                          Yes. Those are still available now from restaurant supply houses. As I recall the "butter" was a blend of butter and coconut oil, but it has been a while.

                                          I still remember my usual lunch. Two roast beef sandwiches, one topped with horsey sauce, one with barbecue and a Jamocha shake. Good eating that.


                                          Ahh, coconut oil--another delight that the Pleasure Police have taken away from us! It was the prime ingredient in TV Time Popcorn and it was wonderful back in the days of my youth. Don't think it clogged my arteries, but they had to ban it anyway.

                                          What I wouldn't give to return to the mid-'60s in my time machine with twenty bucks and make the rounds of my favorite eating haunts and get French Fries at McDonald's and a shake, a Shoney's Big Boy, an Arby's sandwich and shake, a Hoggie at Pasquales, and throw in a cherry Coke at the Kresge's counter.

                                          Why did they have to ruin fast food?



                                          Here is my $20 & let me know before you leave.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            6star

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                                            • Location: West Peoria, IL
                                            RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Fri, 11/21/08 3:09 AM (permalink)
                                            Another sandwich that is just a shadow of its former self (when they offer it) is the Arby-Q. I may be wrong about it (Holly Moore could correct me), but I was told at that time that all the beef scraps left at the end of the day were stored in bar-b-q sauce until the next day, heated in this sauce, and then served as the Arby-Q. I do know it had a delicious strong bar-b-q flavor and dark brown color to it, and it was my favorite sandwich at that time. I have tried their present version (when they periodically offer it) and it is a joke in comparison.....no flavor, no color, no nothing. I don't even bother going to Arby's any more.
                                             
                                            #22
                                              rumaki

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                                              RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Fri, 11/21/08 6:32 PM (permalink)
                                              We LOVED Arby's roast beef sandwiches when I was a kid in Indianapolis in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Sometimes as a treat my father and I would drive down to one of the Arby's (I think it was on Keystone Avenue, near Fall Creek, and I remember it had a great neon sign, not like the soulless plastic ones they have now) and get a big bag of Arby's sandwiches for Saturday lunch, bringing them back to the house for the whole family to enjoy. I was especially fond of the small "Arby's Jr." sandwiches, and I thought Arby's buttered sesame seed buns were great. But I remember when I went to college at Northwestern, and went to an Arby's in Evanston (this would have been in the mid-1970s), the sandwich was made with pre-formed meat, and was nothing like the one I'd had in Indianapolis.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                Tdybr27

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                                                RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Fri, 11/21/08 8:35 PM (permalink)
                                                America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir! ARBY'S
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  leethebard

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                                                  RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Fri, 11/21/08 10:15 PM (permalink)
                                                  quote:
                                                  Originally posted by Tdybr27

                                                  America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir! ARBY'S
                                                  ????????
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    MilwFoodlovers

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                                                    RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Fri, 11/21/08 10:24 PM (permalink)
                                                    quote:
                                                    Originally posted by leethebard

                                                    quote:
                                                    Originally posted by Tdybr27

                                                    ARBY'S
                                                    ????????
                                                    America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir! ARBY'S
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      leethebard

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                                                      RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Sat, 11/22/08 3:41 AM (permalink)
                                                      Ahhhhh...HA!!!
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        Tdybr27

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                                                        RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Sat, 11/22/08 10:08 AM (permalink)
                                                        quote:
                                                        Originally posted by leethebard

                                                        quote:
                                                        Originally posted by Tdybr27

                                                        America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir! ARBY'S
                                                        ????????


                                                        That was their advertising slogan for a while.
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          leethebard

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                                                          RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Sat, 11/22/08 12:12 PM (permalink)
                                                          I guess they became worried about "false advertizing"!!
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            Tdybr27

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                                                            RE: Arby's, 38 years ago Sat, 11/22/08 2:03 PM (permalink)
                                                            I heard they decided not to use ARBY's = Artificial Roast Beef, Yes Sir!

                                                             
                                                            #30
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