Why Doesn't Arby's Have A Mascot?

McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Chick-fil-A: What do all these restaurants have in common? Aside from being fast-food joints, each of these chains has one clever marketing tactic up its sleeves: a mascot. After all, whether it's nostalgic memories of seeing Ronald McDonald advertising hamburgers in between Saturday morning cartoons or seeing the Chick-fil-A cows painting signs advising us to "eat mor chikin," a good mascot can help put a company at the forefront of public marketing, creating an identifiable and familiar face to what would usually be a faceless corporation.

But there's one restaurant that seems to break from the tried but true method of using a colorful or cute mascot: Arby's. Ever since the first restaurant opened in 1964 in Ohio, Arby's has been known for plenty of things, from roast beef sliders to curly fries to H. Jon Benjamin and his "Meat Hotline" (via Thrillist), but never a mascot. In lieu of a mascot, the company has always relied on its distinctive cowboy hat-shaped logo (something designed to evoke the "Wild West spirit" of eating at Arby's, according to Fast Food Menu Prices) to get customers talking. There's never been a talking roast beef sandwich the same way McDonald's paraded around Mayor McCheese and there haven't been any wacky mascots to stir up drama and fan art on Twitter like the Wendy's girl does (via RearFront).

Arby's did make one attempt at a mascot, however, back in the early 2000s before it suddenly vanished from the public mindset.

Arby's had an oven mitt mascot

Oven mitt mascot? That's a pretty strange choice for a place like Arby's. What does an oven mitt have to do with roast beef after all? According to PopIcon, Oven Mitt was Arby's first foray into the world of mascots in 2003, where it would hopefully extol the virtues and values of eating at an Arby's.

One such commercial featured the computer-animated oven mitt (voiced by actor and comedian Tom Arnold) singing the praises of the then-new Italian Beef N' Provolone sandwich by launching into a Dean Martin impression until being locked in a drawer by annoyed workers. Oven Mitt seemed to be the "eyes and ears" (or the fingers, in this case) of the Arby's kitchen, supposedly meant to detail the amount of work and effort put into making sure each roast beef sandwich was "juicy, not greasy" and fresh for waiting customers. What exactly happened to this sentient piece of cooking wear that removed him from the public eye?

According to A Progressive Dinner, some theories include Oven Mitt being too similar to other gloved mascots of the time such as Hamburger Helper, or that even his creators found him to be too annoying. Whatever the case, Oven Mitt was last seen around 2005 before fading back into the meat locker in the Arby's archives.

Arby's did have another "mascot" in 2019, inviting artists on Twitter to draw their own version of an "Arby's girl" — with somewhat mixed results.