Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985?

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JohnL08
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2011/09/04 13:17:25 (permalink)

Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985?

Hello,
 
We had an Arby's restaurant near where I grew up in the Landmark area of Northern Virginia. The local Wash DC area Arbys of the time (from the 1970's up to the mid 80's) used to serve great french fries. As I recall, they weren't so much of a "sliced" potato pushed through a standard fry slicer as much as they seemed like a mashed, or pulverized potato shoestring french fry product? They had very thin, golden brown, crunchy coating too. They were so good. For some reason Arbys stopped selling these fries in the mid 80's and I was so disappointed.
 
I am reaching out to anyone that even remembers these fries? Any links to discussions? What were they? How were they done? Was that a regional thing or national at all of the Arby's back in the day? Are they available anyplace today?
 
 Was that just a dream I had? haha Any help appreciated.
#1

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    phatphil
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2011/09/04 13:49:49 (permalink)
    everything arbys had that was good from that era is long gone, i remeber growing up in skokie illinois and watching them shave the real roast to make my sandwich, then they took the bun off toaster and placed it over a hole in the assembly table that shot steam into it, them days are done
    #2
    JohnL08
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2011/09/04 16:26:40 (permalink)
    Yes I recall the steam "port" too! They were such a good restaurant, very different for fast food even back then. Still on the search for those great fries.
    #3
    Holly Moore
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2011/09/04 17:50:04 (permalink)
    I was the opening manager for the first franchised Arby's.  I vaguely remember the fries - I think they were extruded by the manufacturer.
     
    What I really miss is the roast beef sandwich, itself.  USDA Choice top round, roasted to a medium rare and sliced pretty much within a minute of ordering. Toasted and fake buttered sesame seed bun, topped with "Horsey" sauce.  Washed down by a Jamocha shake.  Maybe the best fast food sandwich ever.
     
    Then came a beef shortage in '69 or '70 that pushed beef prices up maybe 50%. I was working corporately at McDonald's at the time. They chose to not change the burger, but raise the price to 18 cents. 
     
    Arby's, in one of the worse fast food decisions ever, chose to hold the 69 cent price and get rid of the roasted top round of beef and replace it with a much cheaper and horrible tasting comminuted beef roll - chunks of beef bound together by a seasoned (salty) mix, forced into a mold or casing and cooked in a factory. 
     
    When I managed that Arby's there were lines out the door and around the building.  That Arby's survived speaks to the fact that some Americans will eat anything served on a bun. I have no idea what they are serving now for beef as I wrote them off after my first comminuted beef sandwich.
     
    Oven roasting fresh beef is tough in a fast food environment. There was a lot of waste both from juices bleeding out and beef left over at the end of the day. And a few times when we ran out of beef.  But it was a great sandwich.
     
    Sidebar: I was hired by McDonald's New Products Dept. right after college because of my Arby's experience.  We test marketed four approaches to serving a roast beef sandwich - oven roasted just like Arby's; precooked roast beef reheated in a "tedpidarium" - an 160 degree oil bath; precooked roast sliced cold and steamed to order (ugh); and frozen individual portions of beef in gravy reheated in a water bag and served on an Italian bun, cut in half and then placed on a toaster that toasted a pocket/hole in the bun.  The oven roasting was an operational nightmare for a high-volume hamburger restaurant. The tempidarium version was pretty much the same and paled in comparison to oven roasting. None of the other sandwiches developed sufficient customer acceptance.
     
    I still hope that someone will franchise a Arby's-like original roast beef sandwich. Come to think of it, I'm also hoping someone will open up a barebones 1965ish McDonald's that grills hamburgers on a real grill and has a menu that fits on one panel.
    #4
    JohnL08
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2011/09/04 19:30:17 (permalink)
    Great post. I dont really remember eating at Arbys pre early-70's, I was just a little feller and roast beef was yucky to me in them early years. I could eat Arby beef later on (to get them fries) but I never really liked it too much.. likely because of what you just wrote. Makes perfect sense.   
     
    Now, about them fries... hahahaha
     
    #5
    JohnL08
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2011/09/04 19:31:48 (permalink)
    ... and "extruded" is a great term to describe them too. Because they were not like an average sliced fry.
     
    Thanks. 
    #6
    Boosh!
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2011/09/09 15:04:23 (permalink)
    Holly Moore
    I still hope that someone will franchise a Arby's-like original roast beef sandwich. C

     
    You need to check out "Lion's Choice" if you are ever in an area that has one. Real med rare roast beef with buns toasted and shot with steam from a steam port.  I Like to drench mine in their horseradish sauce. Their fries aren't bad either.
    wxwxw.lionschoice.com
    Take the XX out... can't post a link because I don't have enough points.
     
    post edited by Boosh! - 2011/09/09 15:08:16
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    Warren56
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2013/05/07 15:36:28 (permalink)
    I remember those fries so well. I was an assistant manager at an Arby's in Rochester, NY. It was a mashed potato that was put into an extruder that squeezed the fries out directly over the oil. They were just the right amount of crispness and good potato flavor. I have experimented with using a cookie gun to extrude out some mashed potatoes over a fryer and they have been a hit with the family.
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    Samsquantch
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2013/05/13 09:28:18 (permalink)
    Wow John....Im pretty sure that Arby's near Landmark was MY first Arby's experience too!....and never would have remembered those fries....but I sure do now....they were amazing.....used to dip them in Horsey sauce...

    Another poster mentioned them serving real beef at some point....that clearly was before my time (if you wanted that in DC, you went to Roy Rogers...which was terrific)

    All I've ever known of Arby's is the processed meat type product they serve today.....which Im not ashamed to say, I still like very much....I know it's wrong!

    Boosh...I've tried Lions Choice a few times...very good real beef....but just sooooo salty....if they could only notch that down a touch, I would love this place...
    post edited by Samsquantch - 2013/05/13 09:32:29
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    amos01
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2013/05/21 18:59:06 (permalink)
    OK.  Here's the deal with those fries.  I worked for Arby's in Rockville MD back in those days.  I was 14-15 years old, but I remeber it well.  The potatoes were dehydrated pellets that were in about 5-7 lb bags.  We would pour the bag into this machine that would mix them with water.  When a customer  ordered you would press a button on the machine to choose either large or a small portion.  The fries would then be extruded onto a tray then put in the fryer. 
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    Ketteract
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    Re:Arbys French Fries circa 1970-1985? 2013/05/24 08:12:09 (permalink)
    Holly Moore Arby's, in one of the worse fast food decisions ever, chose to hold the 69 cent price and get rid of the roasted top round of beef and replace it with a much cheaper and horrible tasting comminuted beef roll - chunks of beef bound together by a seasoned (salty) mix, forced into a mold or casing and cooked in a factory. 

    When I managed that Arby's there were lines out the door and around the building.  That Arby's survived speaks to the fact that some Americans will eat anything served on a bun. I have no idea what they are serving now for beef as I wrote them off after my first comminuted beef sandwich.

    Oven roasting fresh beef is tough in a fast food environment. There was a lot of waste both from juices bleeding out and beef left over at the end of the day. And a few times when we ran out of beef.  But it was a great sandwich.

    Sidebar: I was hired by McDonald's New Products Dept. right after college because of my Arby's experience.  We test marketed four approaches to serving a roast beef sandwich - oven roasted just like Arby's; precooked roast beef reheated in a "tedpidarium" - an 160 degree oil bath; precooked roast sliced cold and steamed to order (ugh); and frozen individual portions of beef in gravy reheated in a water bag and served on an Italian bun, cut in half and then placed on a toaster that toasted a pocket/hole in the bun.  The oven roasting was an operational nightmare for a high-volume hamburger restaurant. The tempidarium version was pretty much the same and paled in comparison to oven roasting. None of the other sandwiches developed sufficient customer acceptance.

    I still hope that someone will franchise a Arby's-like original roast beef sandwich. Come to think of it, I'm also hoping someone will open up a barebones 1965ish McDonald's that grills hamburgers on a real grill and has a menu that fits on one panel.

    This makes me wonder if a two-tier approach - like Taco Bell with its regular menu and Cantina menu, or McDonald's with its regular menu and Angus menu, could work for Arby's.  A regular menu, and then a pricier menu offering their original top round (or something at least close to it). 
     
    Or maybe that wouldn't work since (1) their sandwiches are pricey already, and (2) the quality difference would be a little too glaring, in contrast to tacos and burgers where there are lots of additional toppings to work with / hide the meat.  I dunno.
    #11
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