Long before they were franchisees, the Cartee family held a special place in their hearts for Arby’s. To this day, they reflect on trips to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Ron and Diane would stop at their local Arby’s to pick up a treat — the brand’s famous sandwich piled with thinly sliced roast beef on a sesame seed bun — for their 6-year-old son, Ron Jr..
“Arby’s just lingered in the back of my mind,” Ron Jr. said.
When an opportunity presented itself to become an Arby’s franchisee in 1990, Ron, Diane and Ron Jr. had no hesitation in joining the brand. Nearly 30 years later, as the Cartee family exits the Arby’s system, Ron recognizes just how special these years have been while building a thriving business alongside his wife and son. It’s certainly something he never imagined growing up in Kentucky.
Ron was raised in a time when most kids either worked or went to college. Ron, however, did both.
He labored away in a variety of different positions, from construction jobs to measuring tobacco and eventually as a union pipefitter. More than 10 years after graduating from Morehead State, Ron and his wife Diane (who he’d married one year before graduation) pursued a plan to build houses by creating the Cartee Land Development, Inc.
What started as working on housing subdivisions eventually led the family into the food industry, with Ron, Diane and Ron Jr. working collectively to build a portfolio of Arby’s restaurants. The family worked as business partners, with Ron and Diane taking care of the real estate and maintenance, and Ron Jr. running the restaurants. Over the years, the Cartee family operated as many as 26 Arby’s locations, with Ron earning numerous awards, such as the Arby’s Developer of the Year award twice and the prestigious President’s Award, which he still holds as one of his highest honors to date.
“Recognition by your peers is probably the highest form of flattery. Receiving the President’s Award from Arby’s ranks as one of my greatest professional achievements,” Ron said.
“It was humbling and a testimony of hard work, determination and smart thinking that allowed me to transfer from a union pipefitter to a housing developer and on to an Arby’s franchisee who opened and operated 26 stores.”
As the Cartee’s exit the restaurant industry to spend more quality family time, they leave behind a legacy of nearly three decades of service to the Arby’s brand.
“Franchisees like Ron, Diane, and Ron Jr. are what make Arby’s such a remarkable brand.
Their decades of service to Arby’s and their community have made a difference in the lives of so many, and we are grateful to call them members of the Arby’s family as they begin the next chapter in their lives.” John Kelly, Chief Operating Officer, Arby’s
With a sale to the AES Restaurant Group, the Cartee Land Development, Inc. leaves their company in the capable hands of fellow franchisee John Wade and a group that has seen dramatic expansion over the last year.
“I don’t think a better person could have bought our business,” Ron said. “John Wade is someone that has the experience and background to make it successful. I’m excited about where the brand is heading.”
Thank you Ron, Diane, Ron Jr. and the entire Cartee Land Development company for all of your hard work and dedication to the brand.
“When I think of Ambassadors of the brand, the Cartee family will always come to mind.
Over their decades at Arby’s they have built something pretty remarkable.” Michelle Carter, Franchise Business Consultant, Arby’s
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