According to the good folks at Arby's, their Classic Roast Beef is their most popular menu item. Which makes sense, if you think about their name. Wait — you never realized that Arby's sounds like the letters R and B? Maybe for Roast Beef? Mind blown. Everything now makes sense about Arby's name.
Except that's not it at all, says the chain. On their "Stuff We Get Asked A Lot" page, the powers that be at Arby's answer the question:
Q. Does the name Arby's stand for "RB," as in "roast beef?"
A. Close, but not quite. It comes from our founders, Leroy and Forrest Raffel, the Raffel Brothers, or "RB."
The debate started again recently on Twitter, in response to a tweet that asked people to "name something obvious to most people that you didn't figure out until recently." One reply was: "The chain "Arby's" is named after the R and B denoting "roast beef..."
So the chain had to step in again.
Most people think that, but our name is actually based on the initials of our founders, the Raffel Brothers.
— Arby's (@Arbys) May 21, 2018
It's a great story, though. Arby's Restaurant was founded in 1964 because Leroy Raffel and Forrest Raffel wanted fast food that wasn't burger-based. The Raffel brothers realized that was missing from the fast food industry. They opened a sandwich shop in Boardman, Ohio, with a freshly-sliced roast beef sandwich as an alternative. Given that the restaurant chain is based on roast beef, it's not surprising that many people think it's also the meaning behind the name. (Of course, there's also the idea that the whole name is an acronym for "American Roast Beef Yes Sir" which is also not the case.)
When you're not in the mood for burgers of chicken at Mcdonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, or Taco Bell, Subway was really the only other option for a fast food chain sandwich option. But there's a very good chance you have an Arby's nearby.
Today there are 3,415 franchisee owned Arby's locations around the world, with 3,283 of those locations in the U.S. The chain, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, can be found in 48 states (as they say on their website, "sorry, Vermont and Rhode Island"). Almost 80,000 people work for America's roast beef sandwich chain.
The fast food chain has become known for its unique voice on social media, which is pop culture nerdy in the best way possible because artwork with curly fries is pretty awesome. The brand is capitalizing on that voice, and their tasty Arby's sauce, with their new font called Saucy AF (you can download the sauce font to make your own sauce calligraphy).