Friday, March 03, 2006


Some time ago, I had a minor epiphany. Actually, to me it was major and I feel a deep civic responsibility to share it, but I really risk overselling this one, so let's leave it at "minor".

I was ordering a roast beef sandwich for lunch and verbally shortened it to the acronym "R-B sandwich". When it came out of my mouth, I realized that it's that phoenitic acronym that must've been the inspiration for the name of the fast-food chain Arby's. As you likely know, they focus heavily on the roast beef products there. It was a small connection, but a connection nonetheless, and I was very happy about it.

Then, a friend of mine who grew up in Cincinnati, where Arby's was hatched, said that I was the victim of a very common misconception. He said that Arby's actually was an acronym itself for "America's Roast Beef Yes Sir!". I found this implausible at the time and dismissed it.

Now recently, I went and did some quick research on the Arby's website and found that we were both wrong, and that Arby's does connote R-B, but not for roast beef. Instead, it's R-B for the Raffel Brothers who started the chain.

Oh, the disappointment of it all. I don't dare do any Easter Bunny internet research.

But in a spat of pure revenge, I give you this, which makes me feel much better about Arby's tricking me. I should've known that roast beef was never part of the equation.


Director of DMV-related Affairs and Soil Management said...

I caught the R.B. thing, but always also assumed it meant "Roast Beef." That said, I've never eaten at Arby's.

Anonymous said...

You peaked my curiosity so I also checked out the Arby's website and found this (the last line is the doozy):

"... The partners wanted to use the name 'Big Tex,' but were unsucessful in negotiating with the Akron businessman who already used the name. So, in the words of Forrest, 'We came up with Arby's, which stands for R.B., the initials of Raffel Brothers, although I guess customers might think the initials stand for roast beef.' It also serves as an acronym for American's Roast Beef, Yes Sir."

see it for yourself:

Anonymous said...

yah but they have arbytraders