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Arby’s Leadership Addresses 2018 Worldwide Franchise Convention

By Raj Prashad

In one of his first major addresses since becoming President of Arby’s, Rob Lynch hosted more than 1,100 franchisees, suppliers, and support center team members at the Arby’s Worldwide Franchise Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rob’s message touched on themes of celebration, collaboration and optimism, and for good reason: 2018 is on track to be Arby’s best year of sales and unit growth in the brand’s history.

“But this isn’t the end,” Rob said. “We must constantly be working to evolve and get better.”

Rob, a Pittsburgh native, opened the convention by pointing to the success of Arby’s and how it compares to the team-first mentality of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It all starts with fostering a winning culture.


If we work together as a team and everyone’s fulfilling their roles, then we can move forward as one of the top companies in our industry.” Rob Lynch, President, Arby’s

Rob Lynch Arby's WFC 2018

Arby’s President Rob Lynch

What Arby’s has achieved in recent years is in large part due to the brand’s relationship with its franchisees.

“What I am absolutely most proud of is the way we have worked together, franchisor and franchisee, and the relationship of trust and respect that we have built over the last five years,” Rob said.

“I can sincerely say that I believe we have the best franchisor-franchisee relationship in the industry.”

Arby’s Chief Operating Officer, John Kelly

For more than 16 years, John Kelly has helped strengthen Arby’s restaurants across the United States and Canada. In Nashville, he took the stage highlighting a bevy of restaurant-level achievements year-to-date, including the integration of new point-of-sale software in 1,000 restaurants, creating an updated learning management platform, and introducing Coca-Cola beverages across the Arby’s system.

One of the most notable accomplishments John pointed to was Arby’s improvement in order accuracy, which has seen a dramatic jump over the last year. QSR Magazine ranked Arby’s second among 10 restaurant chains on its accuracy percentage.

“Arby’s registered 95.2 percent accuracy, nearly five percentage points better than last year,” John said.

Arby’s also ranked second among the competition in team member friendliness and product quality.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve done together.


The incredible alignment that we’ve had across the system, we are just starting to see that consistency pay off for us.” John Kelly, Chief Operating Officer, Arby’s

John Kelly Arby's WFC 2018

Arby’s Chief Operating Officer John Kelly

John also spoke about the importance of ongoing initiatives around empowering Arby’s team members.

“Over 90 percent of our restaurant system participated in Brand Champ. It’s incredible to see our team members faces when they are asked questions about goal setting — questions they’ve never been asked before,” John said.

“It shows our team members there is somebody that believes in them and really cares for them.”

As John said, this is what being better today than we were yesterday is all about.

Arby’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Taylor

One of the most visible changes to the Arby’s brand in recent months has been the roll out of the new “Head of Sandwiches” advertising.

“This is how we transition in the heart and mind of our guests from America’s favorite roast beef shop to America’s favorite sandwich shop,” Jim said.

Since the launch of the campaign, Jim said, guest consideration for Arby’s is up month-over-month and year-over-year.

“Since the launch of Head of Sandwiches, we’ve sold 10 million more core sandwiches than our normal run rate.” Jim Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Arby’s

Jim Taylor Arby's WFC 2018

Arby’s Chief Marketing Officer Jim Taylor

“We’re going to continue our LTO innovation… delicious sandwiches that guests can’t get anywhere else,” Jim said.

Jim also pointed to buzz-worthy marketing moments that are a core part of the brand’s strategy: Arby’s unveiled an unexpected partnership with Warby Parker, created a new font named “Saucy AF,” broke the world record for the largest and smallest ads, and teamed up with renowned tattoo artist Miguel ‘Uzi’ Montgomery to give 100+ fans free Arby’s sandwich tattoos.

“I’m really, really proud of these activations, and we’ve seen the business results follow,” Jim said.

Arby’s SVP of Restaurant Excellence, Stephanie Sentell

Stephanie Sentell, who is responsible for overseeing Operations Innovation, Quality Assurance, and Restaurant Excellence, spoke about the back-of-house investments Arby’s is making across its system.

“We’ve made some incredible changes in the last several years, from how our restaurants look to our fantastic advertising campaign. It’s my team’s objective to bring that same level of brand evolution and innovation to the back-of-house in our restaurants,” Stephanie said.

“My team’s focus is to refine current and bring new process solutions, equipment and technology innovation to the restaurants that enable our restaurants to run as efficiently as possible. We do this by being a hub between our culinary innovations team, our field operations teams, and our supply chain partners as we look for opportunities to optimize our business.”

Stephanie Sentell

Arby’s SVP of Restaurant Excellence Stephanie Sentell

From equipment and preparation, to production and packaging, Stephanie and her team are focused on continuing to deliver a better guest and team member experience.

“I hope you all are as excited as I am about the opportunities we have in front of us in order to drive the next round of growth for our system.”