Secrets Arby's doesn't want you to know

If you're a fan of roast beef, you've probably eaten at Arby's. The fast-food franchise is best-known for their roast beef sandwiches, but they've added a lot of other tantalizing food items to the menu in the past 50 years. In fact, a lot of things have happened in the half-century that Arby's has been in business. Here are some of the most surprising secrets about Arby's that everyone should know.

Questionable things have been found in their meals

Arby's customers have found some unwanted ingredients in their meals. In 2012, Ryan Hart found a severed human finger in his sandwich. The teenager spat out a piece of his sandwich that felt "particularly rubbery." He was horrified to see that the rejected mouthful wasn't a bad piece of roast beef, but was an inch-long piece of a worker's finger that had been cut off while slicing meat.

This wasn't the first time an Arby's customer got a side of human flesh with their meal. In 2005, David Scheiding sued an Arby's restaurant after finding a piece of skin in his chicken sandwich.

They've been known to block their critics on social media

The franchise has gotten some negative press for their censorship of critics on social media. In 2012, Arby's announced they would no longer advertise on the conservative Rush Limbaugh Program (though Limbaugh claims the chain had never advertised on the show in the first place). Fans of Limbaugh blasted Arby's for this decision and complained on Twitter. 

Rather than responding to the complaints, Arby's blocked the accounts of users who were posting negative feedback, which led to even more backlash. They eventually unblocked their critics, although they offered no apology to those who had been temporarily banned.

They're not nice to vegetarians

Arby's is definitely for meat lovers. The home of the "meat mountain" which features chicken, turkey, ham, corned beef, brisket, steak, roast beef, bacon, and cheese all on one sandwich, is not known for being vegetarian-friendly. They've even gone so far as to poke fun at those who opt out of eating meat.

In a 2015 press release, they announced they respect vegetarians so much they had launched a support hotline to help them resist the tempting meats Arby's has on offer. "It may be hard to resist…even for you," Arby's said. "Hardcore vegetarians likely won't budge, but for those of you who are on the fringe or new to the game, avoidance can't be easy. We, at Arby's, have created this temptation. So, we'd like to help. We're giving you a number to call: 1-855-MEAT-HLP."

This joke was followed up in 2016 with a vegetarian Leap Day menu. The menu was the same as the regular menu, minus the meat. Items offered included a toasted sesame bun and a fish-free sandwich with only lettuce and tartar sauce.

The name doesn't mean what you probably think

The name "Arby's" has a somewhat mythologized origin. Many people claim the name is a play on the words "roast beef," which is the chain's most famous ingredient. Whether or not there is any basis to this rumor, the Arby's website debunks this legend. According to the official story, the chain was named after brothers Leroy and Forrest Raffel. The Raffel brothers founded the chain in the 1960s and the name comes from the initials (RB) making up "Raffel brothers," — not "roast beef."

They once got into a Twitter war with Pharrell

In 2014, Arby's and Pharrell got into a now-infamous social media exchange in which the food chain called out the singer for wearing a hat which resembled the Arby's logo. "Hey @Pharell, can we have our hat back?" tweeted Arby's.

Pharrell wore the now-famous hat to the Grammy awards. While it might look a lot like the hat that's featured in the Arby's logo, the hat is actually a vintage Vivienne Westwood design and Pharrell had been wearing it for years.

The good-natured feud attracted a lot of publicity, as Arby's kept asking to get their hat back. Arby's eventually bought the hat on eBay from Pharrell for $44,100. The proceeds of the sale went to a children's charity which promotes learning through arts and technology.

They were the first major chain to ban smoking

Early in 1994, Arby's announced they would ban smoking in all corporate-owned restaurants and encourage franchise owners to do the same. This made them the first major restaurant chain to ban smoking.

The move was applauded by people concerned about the effects of secondhand smoke on the public. In a press conference, Dan Morales, then the Texas Attorney General, said "It is a terrific thing to see responsible corporate leaders stepping forward doing what is clearly in the best interest of the public."

They were sued for using a trademarked slogan

In an accidental case of plagiarism, Arby's had to stop using their "Eat Your Bourbon" slogan after Bourbon Barrel Foods sued them in 2016 for trademark infringement. The gourmet food company had already trademarked the phrase in order to promote their bourbon barbecue sauce. Arby's claimed they had no idea that another company was already using the slogan, and immediately stopped using the phrase after the situation was brought to their attention.

A man sued Arby's after a urinal allegedly burned him

An Arby's located in Denver found itself in hot water after a man said a malfunctioning urinal had caused severe burns. The lawsuit was filed in 2012, two years after the plaintiff claimed he was "utilizing the urinal in the men's restroom when it caused a jet of steam to shoot forth from the urinal and burn his genitals." The lawsuit demanded money to compensate not only for his injuries, but also for the dent the incident put into his love life.

They hold the Guinness record the longest running commercial

In 2014, Arby's set the Guinness World Record for the longest running television commercial. In order to show just how long they spend slow-cooking their famous beef brisket, Arby's aired a 13-hour commercial demonstrating the process. While most networks refused to air the long promo, MY9 in Duluth, Minnesota agreed.

Arby's beat the previous record by a landslide. Before their brisket commercial, the record was held by Nivea, which ran an hour-long commercial.

Security breaches have put customers' credit information at risk of being stolen

A lot of Arby's lovers had to give up their roast beef sandwich habit after a security breach put credit information at risk of being stolen. The breach, revealed to the public in 2017, put thousands of customers at hundreds of restaurants at risk. Arby's stayed on top of the situation, immediately contacting the authorities after they were made aware of the breach, and hiring computer professionals to remove the malware at affected restaurants.