Arby’s of Temecula celebrates as restaurant chain turns 50

Brothers Forrest and Leroy Rafael opened the first Arby’s restaurant on July 23, 1964 with the belief that there was a market for a fast food restaurant that didn’t sell the traditional stock of burgers and french fries. More than 50 years later the Rafaels’ dream seems to have been realized, as Arby’s boasts a sizeable 34,000 locations worldwide.

On Wednesday, July 23, Arby’s locations across the country celebrated 50 years of roast beef sandwiches, curly fries and jamocha shakes and the Temecula location was no exception.

General Manager Russ Gee, Crew Leader Dianne Killingsworth and Marvin the Mitten were all on hand to ring in the special day. Mayor Maryann Edwards even made an appearance; she participated in a special ribbon cutting ceremony and enjoyed an orange shake afterward.

The day wasn’t just special for long time Arby’s customers; it was also a treat for the Temecula Arby’s team of dedicated workers. General Manager Russ Gee said he was particularly excited to mark the big 50 for the chain because Arby’s has been a big part of his life for close to three decades.

Gee has worked at Arby’s locations for the past 28 years and has been the manager at the Temecula location for the past 11. He said he’s been proud to work at Arby’s for a number of reasons, but is especially happy with his time at the Temecula location.

“It’s a family type atmosphere here,” Gee said. “Most times in this business you get into a rut; you do the same things over and over again. But here things are constantly changing.”

Crew Leader Diane Killingsworth shared Gee’s sentiment, saying Arby’s has provided a different work experience from other places she’s worked.

“It’s more family here,” Killingsworth said. “We all have a good rapport with each other and we all have lots of fun; you look forward to coming to work every day.”

Gee said that good customer service and positive interactions between staff members are important at Arby’s. He tries his best to treat people kindly and make them happy, whether they’re coming in for a shift or they’re a customer coming in to dine.

“There are two types of customers when you’re in this type of business; the one that’s on this side of the counter and the one that’s on that side of the counter,” he said. “And you treat everyone like they’re your brother. That way you don’t get in trouble.”

Good customer service may be important to the staff at Arby’s, but it’s only one component of the restaurant’s operation. Having a wide selection of good quality food is also important, according to Gee.

Arby’s may be known for its signature roast beef sandwiches, turnovers and shakes but the restaurant’s menu has been evolving over the years. Gee said there are always new and exciting items to try.

The most recent promotional offer from the restaurant has been its “Meatcraft” special. Arby’s guests are encouraged to try sandwiches with one or more of the restaurant’s eight quality meat options such as the smoked brisket. The brisket is hickory smoked for at least 13 hours before being carved.

Another meat that ditches deli mediocrity is the angus steak, which is made from USDA Choice top round beef and sliced thin. The meat is added to an Italian-style roll and topped with parmesan spread, cheddar and swiss among a number of other ingredients in the restaurants’ Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sandwich.

But Arby’s is still largely known for its roast beef sandwiches and guests often opt to go for the savory and somewhat tangy meat, which is marinated and roasted on location every single day. The Classic Roast Beef as well as the Roast Beef and Cheddar remain favorites among some customers, but there are also some newer takes on the classic lunchmeat favorite that go over well with customers like the French Dip and Swiss.

Guests can enjoy some lighter seasonal takes on fast food like the orange shake and pecan chicken salad sandwich, both of which are around for a limited time. For those looking for a taste a little more tame than orange, the Jamocha Shake might do the trick. A long-standing menu classic, the shake blends coffee and chocolate together for a sweet mocha taste.

The Temecula Arby’s is located at 27702 Jefferson Ave in Temecula. For more information on their menu offerings, visit their website at

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