Arby’s is winning a new generation of customers. Here’s why.
Arby’s Fast Crafted® market position is at the intersection of the QSR and fast casual space, which is a great space to be in. We offer quality, affordable food that is quickly, yet skillfully prepared, as well as an experience that is warm, welcoming, and convenient. At Arby’s, we pride ourselves on delivering both quick-service speed and fast-casual, made-for-you care. We believe this, along with our great-tasting lineup of handcrafted sandwiches, piled high with delicious, top-quality meats and perfectly complemented by our sides and drinks, creates a unique, Fast Crafted® experience for our guests unlike anything currently available in the QSR category.
Arby’s same-store sales have grown for more than 20 consecutive quarters. Sales and transactions have accelerated since we launched our “We Have the Meats®” campaign to emphasize the diversity and authenticity of our menu.
Our guest demographic mix has shifted significantly, too. In the year stretching from July 2012 to June 2013, 38% of our guests were ages 18 to 34. Two years later, that percentage had climbed to 54%.
Arby’s attracts younger guests
Every restaurant brand is working to attract the attention, loyalty, and spending of younger, more diverse guests. Those born between 1982 and 2000 number 83.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and have $200 billion in annual buying power, Forbes magazine estimated in January 2015. But younger guests have been an elusive target for many fast food franchise brands, thanks to their demands for better food quality, more choices, affordability, and convenience.
“In terms of foodservice visits, Millennials prefer fresh ingredients and freshly prepared items,” The NPD Group reports. They are looking for quality. They want to know that the food they’re eating is made from ingredients they would recognize at the farmer’s market or grocery store, but they also face tight budgets while looking for quality — and the occasional splurge.
NPD reports that younger guests “still make a lot of visits to restaurants, and to encourage more visits, restaurant operators need to offer them a ‘good deal,’ which to them means reasonable and affordable items that are of good quality and the right quantity,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “They not only want to get their money’s worth, they want good food and service.”
Those demands are in complete alignment with Arby’s brand positioning. The term Fast Crafted® reflects the niche we occupy in the marketplace, which allows restaurant owners to pull guests from Arby’s competition in both the QSR and fast casual segments. We have broad appeal because we offer superior food and service compared to QSR, and more convenience and affordability compared to fast casual. We are able to deliver quality, speed, service, and convenience —without compromises — to our guests.
Arby’s also enjoys a unique advantage in the sandwich segment of the restaurant industry. We are the only deli sandwich restaurant that has a drive-thru available in almost all locations. Other sandwich restaurants force guests to walk in, or rely on expensive and time-consuming delivery operations to provide convenience to guests. The drive-thru provides a huge operational and competitive advantage for Arby’s franchisees.
The Fast Crafted® opportunity
“By straddling between QSR and fast casual, Arby’s is hitting a broader range of guests”
Multi-unit Arby’s owner Rick Bentley says the Fast Crafted®® brand positioning has done a good job of pulling in new guests. “We pull from the fast casual side because we have quality product, and you can get it quickly, without even leaving your car. On the QSR side, we have positioned ourselves with sliders (less than $2 and $1 each during promotional windows) to bring in people who don’t want to spend a lot of money , especially high school and college kids, who then order drinks and sides and get familiar with the rest of the menu.”
“By straddling between QSR and fast casual, Arby’s is hitting a broader range of guests,” says Grant Troja, who owns Arby’s restaurants in Cincinnati and Chattanooga, TN. “With the drive-thru, we can hit those who won’t get out of their car, period, and we can serve them quickly. But we’re not just about speed. A lot of companies have made speed their whole strategy — it’s all about speed, speed, speed — but people also want quality. We make things fresh for our guests. It makes a big difference.”