Eating at fast food restaurants is something most of us do at least occasionally.
While the cost of food at these establishments varies, most people would agree that Arby’s is more expensive than most of the other fast food options.
You may be thinking, why are they so pricey?
After all, fast food is fast food.
There are several specific reasons Arby’s is so expensive.
Why is Arby’s So Expensive? (The Top 10 Reasons)
It’s important to point out that Arby’s has always been more expensive than other fast food restaurants.
The chain started more than fifty years ago, selling their first roast beef sandwich for 69 cents.
During this same time period, McDonald’s was selling a hamburger for 15 cents.
People were probably complaining back then that a price of 69 cents for a sandwich was outrageous.
Prices sure have changed, but people complaining about high prices haven’t.
The following are 10 specific reasons Arby’s is so expensive.
1. Arby’s Uses Roast Beef, Not Ground Beef
Roast beef is generally more expensive than ground beef.
Despite a few urban legends that have circulated, Arby’s sandwiches are made from real roast beef.
Top round roast and sirloin beef are the types of beef often used when making roast beef.
Exactly what percentage of what type of beef goes into Arby’s roast beef sandwiches is debatable, but since it is real roast beef, this is going to cost more.
Even though Arby’s serves several types of sandwiches, wraps, and salads, the one thing you can’t get at Arby’s is a burger.
Ground beef is one of the cheapest types of meat available.
Almost every other fast food chain is selling burgers and using some kind of ground beef.
Considering that Arby’s is using just about every other type of meat available, and the fact that they’re not using ground beef, means almost every item on the menu is going to be more expensive than what’s served at other restaurants.
2. Several Types Of Fresh Meat
They not only feature roast beef, but they also have lots of different meats on the menu.
This is why their advertising slogan is, “We have the meats!” Besides mouth-watering roast beef, they have chicken sandwiches, fish selections, Angus beef, and even gyro meat.
When a restaurant is purchasing, storing, and cooking all these different types of meats, costs will almost certainly go up.
There are likely procedures in place for storing and then cooking all these different types of meats.
Not only do they feature so many different kinds of meats, but there are long processes that are used to prepare some of their meat selections.
Arby’s has a smokehouse brisket that has already undergone an extensive preparation process before it’s even delivered to the restaurants.
While the meat comes to the store already sliced and ready to serve, it was smoked at least 13 hours at a smokehouse that’s located in Texas.
Arby’s even ran a commercial in 2014 that was 13 hours long to prove they actually smoked their brisket that long.
The entire smoking process aired in Duluth, Minnesota from May 24th to the 25th, 2014. Paying for 13-hour commercials and actually smoking all their briskets that long is not going to be cheap!
3. Lite Options On The Menu
Arby’s was one of the first in the country to offer food that was at least relatively healthy on its menu.
The brand started featuring lighter options back in 1991, before lots of restaurants were even thinking about how much fat, calories, and sugar were in their food choices.
Offering healthier options, unfortunately, sometimes costs more.
Making sure items are below a certain calorie count or have fewer fat grams takes time and effort, which ultimately costs more money.
Arby’s has a roast turkey salad that is considered one of the healthiest items on the menu.
It’s only 410 calories, and it’s loaded with healthy ingredients such as two different kinds of lettuce, diced tomatoes, and roasted chicken.
Of course, it also has bacon, cheese, and buttermilk ranch dressing, but compared to most types of fast food, that’s still relatively healthy.
All these fresh ingredients, especially the meats and cheese, can bring up the overall cost.
4. Curly Fries
You can visit almost any other fast food restaurant and not find curly fries on the menu.
While a few other establishments do offer curly fries, this is something that is primarily associated with Arby’s.
Making curly fries does not include the same process as making regular French fries.
One thing many people might not know is that before Arby’s featured their world-famous curly fries, they served potato cakes.
The restaurants didn’t serve curly fries until 1988.
Of course, people can now buy Arby’s curly fries from their local grocery store.
If you do this, you may find that the ones you buy from your grocer don’t necessarily taste the same as the ones you get from the drive-thru.
How you prepare an item is just as important as the actual ingredients.
To get the same taste, it’s recommended to use an air fryer when preparing the Arby’s curly fries you purchased at the store.
The bottom line is that a restaurant featuring a popular item that most people can’t find at other locations is going to be able to charge more.
Even buying it at the grocery and making it at home often doesn’t result in the same flavor, giving Arby’s a unique item that they can charge more for.
5. Mozzarella Sticks
This is another item on Arby’s menu that you won’t find at most fast food joints.
Arby’s mozzarella sticks are rich, gooey goodness that many people crave.
Cheese always has been more costly than many other types of ingredients, so this is yet another reason items are a bit on the pricey side at this particular restaurant.
In recent years, different types of cheeses have become even more expensive to make.
Not only does Arby’s offer delicious and filling mozzarella sticks, but there’s also marinara sauce to go with them.
Mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce is a type of item you’d often find at many high-end restaurants.
Ordering this item gives the restaurant a bit more pizzazz than what other restaurants are offering.
That Arby’s features mozzarella sticks is just one more reason their prices are on the high side.
6. Gourmet Sandwiches
We’ve already mentioned how items such as curly fries and mozzarella sticks are on the Arby’s menu and that you’d be hard-pressed to find these at most other fast food establishments.
Well, they have even more unique items to choose from.
For starters, they offer their Market Fresh sandwiches.
Arby’s features a delicious pecan chicken salad sandwich.
The ingredients include chicken, celery, apples, lettuce, pecans, and red grapes.
A typical burger with mustard, ketchup, and a few pickles is obviously a lot less expensive to make than a sandwich with this many different items.
Arby’s also has a corned beef Reuben sandwich on the menu.
This is a type of sandwich that most fast food restaurants aren’t going to offer.
It would be a challenge to buy all the necessary ingredients or invest the time it takes to make it.
A Reuben sandwich includes corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and rye bread.
With all these different gourmet sandwiches, as well as chicken wraps that include several ingredients, it’s going to end up costing the consumer extra money for the restaurant to carry all these great options.
7. Unique Desserts
After eating all the great sandwiches, salads, and curly fries, you may want something sweet for dessert.
Currently, there are eleven items categorized as dessert items on the menu.
Like many of the other items on Arby’s menu, these are different types of selections than you’ll find in most other fast food restaurants.
While they do serve the basic vanilla and chocolate shakes, the restaurant also features Dr. Pepper Floats and Jamocha shakes among their less traditional items.
They also have an orange crème shake, cookies, and a cherry and apple turnover.
The shakes are more expensive at Arby’s than the same types of items purchased at other fast food restaurants.
Some of Arby’s shakes have come with extra goodies such as more chocolate drizzled over the top as well as pieces of candy.
With all the extras on these delicious shakes, it’s no wonder they cost a bit more.
8. Better Condiments
Yes, even condiments make a difference in the overall costs of operating a restaurant.
Most fast food restaurants offer mustard and ketchup.
Some may even offer mayo.
Arby’s, however, offers their extremely popular Arby’s Sauce® and Horsey Sauce®.
These sauces are one of the many reasons it will cost you more to eat at an Arby’s restaurant.
Most restaurants don’t charge extra for these sauces and some people will try to get as many packets as possible when ordering a sandwich.
When a company has special sauces that are popular, and they’re giving them away, it makes sense that they have to make up the costs somewhere.
These sauces are so popular that you can find lots of copycat recipes online.
Most people will tell you that these online knock-offs rarely taste like the real thing.
There are places online where Arby’s actually posts every item they offer and the ingredients in each of these items.
These lists also include all the dressings and sauces.
Of course, just knowing the ingredients in something still isn’t enough to correctly copy a recipe.
It is necessary to know exactly how much of each ingredient to put in, when in the process to put it in, or if an item needs to be cooked beforehand if you wish to make the sauce just like Arby’s.
Very few people are going to get the recipe right, even if they know the ingredients.
This is just another reason people are coming to Arby’s and are willing to pay more.
9. Secret Menu Items
Actually, they’re called hidden menu items.
Remember back in the day when they had the super roast beef sandwich?
This sandwich came with special sauce, shredded lettuce, and tomato.
You can still get this item when ordering at most Arby’s locations, even though it’s not technically on the menu.
When a restaurant has more items, such as shredded lettuce and tomatoes, that need to be purchased and kept fresh at all times, costs will go up.
The super roast beef isn’t the only item that’s on the hidden menu.
Even though you won’t see it on the menu, you can also order the ultimate BLT sandwich, the roast ham and Swiss sandwich, the roast beef and Swiss sandwich, the bacon beef and cheddar, and ultimately, the meat mountain sandwich.
This is a massive sandwich that is stacked with almost all the different types of meat Arby’s offers.
It’s important to note that this particular sandwich is only available at participating restaurants and according to the internet, costs at least $10.
Yes, Arby’s is more expensive than your typical fast food restaurant.
However, it’s really not unreasonable considering all the options on the menu and the different ingredients that go into many of their food selections.
10. Arby’s Doesn’t Have As Many Franchises
As of 2019, Arby’s was ranked 16th in the nation for earned revenue.
Arby’s had 3,415 franchises at that time.
Wikipedia lists Arby’s as number 24 in 2021 as far as the number of actual restaurants worldwide.
All that may sound like a lot, but when you compare it to McDonald’s with more than 14,000 restaurants and Subway with almost 26,000, it’s actually not that many overall.
The point is, with more restaurants, a slimmer profit margin can be made for each of the individual restaurants while still allowing the corporation to earn a good profit overall.
With fewer restaurants, each one must have a larger profit margin for the corporate executives to make the same amount of money.
Arby’s already has higher prices because of more menu options and quality ingredients.
With fewer restaurants, prices must be even higher to make an adequate profit.
Now that you know some of the reasons Arby’s is more expensive when compared to other fast food establishments, you may be wondering how to save a little money when visiting the restaurant.
There are a few things you may want to know about Arby’s to save some cash and have the best dining experience possible!
How Can I Save Money at Arby’s?
Like most restaurants, Arby’s offers coupons and certain promotions.
They used to have their “5 for 5” deals, giving customers five regular roast beef sandwiches for five dollars.
Even though those days are gone, there are still lots of coupons and daily specials available.
Arby’s website lets you sign up to get deals sent directly to your email. Arby’s often features a 2 for $6 feature that can save a customer quite a bit of money.
There aren’t actual coupons you need to bring in for this. It’s just a deal they offer on a fairly regular basis to get two items for $6.
The combination of choices usually includes any gyro sandwich, the classic beef and cheddar sandwich, and chicken tenders.
Where Can I Find an Arby’s Near Me?
According to the Arby’s website, there is an Arby’s restaurant in every state except for Vermont and Rhode Island.
The District of Columbia doesn’t have one within their borders either.
If you live in one of these areas, you’ll have to drive a little farther to enjoy one of their roast beef sandwiches.
If you live in Ohio, however, you’re in luck.
This is the state with the most restaurants.
There are currently 276 locations in the state of Ohio.
Indianapolis, Indiana is the city with the most locations.
If you’re looking for a spot in the country where you won’t have much trouble finding an Arby’s, you may want to take a road trip to Indiana or Ohio sometime soon.