Arby's Co-Founder Leroy Raffel Dead At 96

On Thursday, March 23, Arby's shared the devastating news that its co-founder Leroy Raffel had passed away at the age of 96, joining his brother and co-founder Forrest, who had passed away in 2008 at the age of 86. The chain wrote on Twitter that Leroy was "a visionary leader. May his memory be a blessing." In a similar statement on Facebook, Arby's wrote, "We remain honored to carry on the legacy that Leroy and his brother Forrest created."

Countless others shared their own stories of Leroy, be it personal or in passing. Some said they had heard about him through their parents or grandparents who worked alongside him at the restaurant. For others, it was simply the food. One man wrote, "Godspeed, Leroy. The quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and you've got ours," while others thanked him for the roast beef sandwiches and iconic curly fries. We truly can't thank him enough, but we can take a moment to remember all that he's done for fast food.

Leroy Raffel just wanted to serve food and 'treat everyone nice'

The Raffel brothers founded Arby's in 1964, opening their first location in Boardman, Ohio. The restaurant originally had only 10 seats inside, but grew over the years, even being rebuilt entirely in 2016 to include large windows and a "corrected" drive-thru. This same location is currently in the process of seeking a historical marker.

Despite expanding the Arby's chain to include more than 3,400 locations, Forrest and Leroy never seemed to let the success go to their heads. In a 2014 interview with WYTV, Leroy said that the attitude behind Arby's was always to provide "high quality" roast beef sandwiches, to "take good care of customers," and to "treat everyone nice."

We can safely say that the Raffel brothers left their mark, as Arby's ranked first for order accuracy in 2022, and second for quality and customer satisfaction in 2021 and 2020, according to Intouch Insight's annual fast food survey. Leroy's memory truly is a blessing to us all.