Workers Reveal What It's Really Like To Work At Arby's

The fast food staple Arby's was founded in 1964 by two brothers, Forrest and Leroy Raffel. The Raffel brothers (believe it or not, the Arby's name is derived from the initials R.B. for "Raffel brothers," not roast beef) knew in order to set themselves apart in the fast food market, they'd need to think outside the burger box. As a result of this early intention, Arby's has made a serious name for itself with stellar roast beef that continues to lure in hungry customers to the sandwich chain, which boasts over 3,500 restaurants across the world. The curly fries are also, incidentally, a huge hit among consumers. They're ranked the number one fast food fry by Thrillist.

If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the infamous cowboy hat logo'd roast beef slinger, besides its mission to always "have the meats," Arby's workers past and present haven't been afraid to spill the tea all over the internet. We did some seriously deep dives on Reddit and elsewhere, in order to really get to the bottom of what an Arby's crew member experiences while working there. Keep reading to learn about the real-life accounts of employees at Arby's outposts.

Getting promoted to manager at Arby's might not be worth the stress

While it may seem like taking an opportunity to get promoted at work is always a no-brainer, that may not be the case at Arby's restaurants. In a Reddit AMA from Arby's employee u/WarGeneralShroomy, another former Arby's worker, u/PandahHeart wrote, "I was a manager at Arby's for a year. It wasn't worth it for myself. I made like $1.00 more than the crew. I did get more hours until our new owners said no more OT, so I ended [sic] finding a new job that paid more and was less stressful." The Arby's worker who started the AMA thread replied that " of the main reasons why" they didn't take an offer for a management position after two-and-a-half years of working at the chain was exactly that—more stress for not that much more money.

This insider intel about Arby's not necessarily making competitive wages a priority for its workers isn't that shocking. As recently as spring of 2021, Arby's parent company, Inspire Brands, was pretty vocal in advocating against raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, according to Newsweek. In the aforementioned Reddit thread, u/PPQue6 asked about the worker's thoughts on Arby's not supporting the minimum wage increase, and the response was, "There is a reason why im quitting lmao [sic]." So while managing at Arby's could be a good way to move up career-wise, it might depend on the individual to decide whether it's worth the downsides.

Arby's employees don't mind customizing your order

The last thing most decent customers want to do is create a high maintenance order for a fast food employee but apparently, Arby's workers don't get too bent out of shape about it. Redditor u/2shins, who is an Arby's employee at a Nevada location said, in response to someone asking about being able to get a different bun than the sandwich normally comes with, "...we honestly do anything and everything to get the customer exactly what they want. We do beef and cheddars on 5 inch seeded buns at least a few times daily, and we do roast beef maxes on onion buns, or in wraps." In a different Reddit AMA started by Arby's crew member u/Ohkatooo, a poster asked about the Cordon Bleu not being on the menu anymore, and the employee suggested "...ask them to make a sandwich similar to it with the ingredients they currently have..." This must be an effective strategy because a former cook and cashier also gave this insider intel on Reddit: "...any of the ingredients on any of the sandwiches can be put on any of the others, many of them (sauces in particular) for free..." 

So there you have it, Arby's workers have reiterated that you can get creative, as long as it's ingredients they use to make what's currently on the menu.

Running out of beef is a rare occurrence at Arby's

It seems as though Arby's does not mess around with its beef supply and always has enough of the staple ingredient in-house at all hours of operation, and most of the company's employees attest to this fact. 

In a Reddit AMA started by Arby's worker u/Ohkatooo, fellow Arby's employee u/Withafloof asked, "How often do you run out of beef? My location is so busy I often get that problem." In response, u/Ohkatooo confirmed, "We never ran out of beef ever since I started a couple months back" and yet another Arby's-employed Redditor u/Remmock chimed in, "I work at the second busiest store in the company. We never run out of beef." 

So while anything is possible, you can probably rest assured that your local Arby's location isn't running out of roast beef during the lunch rush any time soon.

Customers get stranger near closing time

There's no doubt a number of people are much more likely to indulge in a little french dip and swiss when they're under the influence at night, so of course, it follows that the closer to closing time, the weirder the customers might get at Arby's. An Arby's employee on Reddit who goes by u/TheN00bBuilder, when asked about their "worst customer" gave this account: "We were about to close and serving a customer at the drive through; order was 100% right, but they acted like we were missing four junior roast beef sandwiches. They got nasty with me and started cursing at me, and I just walked off and found the manager..." followed by, "He went up to her and she started yelling and cursing at him over 4 sandwiches. This went on for 10 minutes before he just gave up and gave her the sandwiches to get her to leave. She was spewing out words like that she was gonna 'get us someday for this' as she left." Yikes.

Another Arby's worker told Reddit, "...a man came in about 9:30pm we closed at 10pm and he asked if we could make 10 beef n cheddars but disassembled" and when he asked to not toast the buns, the worker learned he was planning to ship the disassembled sandwiches to his relatives in China. Hey, Arby's has fans all over the world, and this is what one man was willing to do for the ones near and dear to him.

Cleanliness is very important at Arby's

Fast food restaurants are not exactly known for being spotless, but if cleanliness concerns you, Arby's might be a safe bet, according to several current and former employees.

One Quora user who worked at Arby's confirmed, "The place was spotless!" and another emphasized, "The kitchen standards are good..." The praise for Arby's cleaning standards continued on Reddit with a worker explaining, "...I can say that our effort to keep the place clean is pretty extensive. Being a cashier, I have to clean all tables and sweep the floor every thirty minutes..." and another Redditor wrote, "Fry warmer is taken apart and cleaned every night. Shake machine spout is rinsed out between every shake. Any equipment that hits the floor goes to the back to get washed ... we do sweep and mop at least once or twice a day ... If food touches the floor, it's thrown out ... we wipe down the tables between guests ... when I do the bathrooms, I scrub the toilet and wipe down any surfaces that tend to get dirty ... I then mop the bathroom, getting into every corner."

Yet another Redditor said the expectations for cleanliness are "To the point that it's annoying ... I honestly have no horror stories about cleanliness or the food, it's all taken care of to the point that it becomes slightly inconvenient for the workers haha." So it's fairly safe to say you don't have to worry about the state of the kitchen where your roast beef sandwich is being prepared.

Arby's employees experience a fast-paced environment

Not all fast food restaurants are super busy. It greatly depends on the location and time of day. However, it seems like Arby's is always jumping, if the employee accounts are legit. According to several Arby's employees writing in to share their experience of working for the chain on the employment resource website Niche, a day at Arby's is nothing if not fast-paced. One Arby's worker says, "My work place is extremely busy. I like the hard working fast paced environment." Another crew member states, "My least favorite thing is the fast paced environment. Sometimes we never stop and get a chance to breathe." Yet another employee at Arby's reiterates, "Its [sic] very fast paced sometimes, but you kinda get addicted to moving like that..." 

All these reviews seem to reveal that the verdict is in—Arby's employees have to brace themselves for a busy shift whenever they clock into work at the chain.

The limited time only items tend to exhaust Arby's workers

Fast food restaurants tend to live and die by their limited time only items. Creating a sense of "you better come and get it because this won't last forever" (even though it usually does return—case in point, the McRib) really gets customers jonesing for the speciality meal. Arby's gets it on this fun, and clearly displays its limited time only options on its website so you're always in the know. While it may be exciting for an Arby's consumer to enjoy an LTO menu treat, it's not always a treat for the workers at the chain.

According to a back and forth between two Arby's employees on Reddit, the limited menu offerings are a hassle. One worker says, "Been working at our local Arby's for going on 5 years myself. Y'all tired of the lto sandwiches? We literally don't have enough room on our table for the ever changing new sandwiches," and another responds, "Sometimes the LTOs get overwhelming. Especially when they're overlapping ... our problem is that we're running out of space for all the new sauces."

We have to hand it to the Arby's chefs, however. You know you're getting creative with your menu when the workers are running out of space to store all the ingredients.

Arby's employees aren't afraid to enforce the restaurant rules

Arby's employees are sticklers about the restaurant's rules, and we wouldn't advise trying to push their limits on that, or you might go viral on the internet. In a TikTok video that's been shared over 4,000 times, an Arby's employee taped a woman combating him over the restaurant's mask requirement. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a lot of restaurants and other business establishments have required face coverings in an effort to hopefully reduce the spread of the virus. This particular Arby's location was still implementing a mask rule for customers as of November of 2021. 

In the recording, the Arby's worker behind the camera phone remains impressively calm when the customer in question was insisting she did not need to put on a mask, with the worker simply stating, "It even says it on the door, ma'am, wear a mask." When you watch the video it becomes abundantly clear, the customer isn't always right when the safety of others is on the line.

The crew at Arby's can make their own subs after hours

It's probably the number one question we all have about fast food workers—do you still enjoy the restaurant's food after working there? It seems as though Arby's employees not only still enjoy the food after working there but they also take some liberties with how they prepare the sandwiches when they're the ones who will be eating them. 

Per a post from an Arby's worker's Reddit AMA, the sub-making amongst colleagues gets epic. The worker writes, in response to a question about employee-derived recipes, "my friend who also works with me makes epic subs ... i usualy eat the excess food ... my fave is a regular beef and ched ... sence we make a bunch of chicken strips i usually just put two on a bun.with mayo bacon.mustard pickles, lettuce. and a tiny bit of horsey sauce mmmmmmmm..." [sic]

This meal sounds pretty legit to us. How about a secret, employee curate menu at Arby's?

The meat mountain is not an employee favorite

Arby's famous Meat Mountain sandwich is two buns sandwiching a rather high pile of turkey, steak, bacon, brisket, chicken tenders, corned beef, ham, roast beef, and possibly even fish, according to Eater. This is an Arby's secret menu item and obviously intended for the most adventurous of meat-eaters. Understandably, Arby's workers are not big fans. Just looking at it is tiring so we can't imagine actually making it. 

An Arby's crew member on Reddit, when asked if this is the stuff of legend or if people really do order a meat mountain, confirms, "It's not common but maybe once every week or two I'll see someone order a Meat Mountain. We all just groan about it because it's inconvenient to make and holds up our backline and sandwiches." We'd say "inconvenient" is a nice way to put it—seems like a serious pain and definitely worthy of an eye roll from behind the drive-thru speaker.

Arby's employees must ensure the food is fresh

While a lot of fast food establishments throw around the word "fresh," if the employee accounts are any indications, Arby's truly stands behind it. Workers confirm that fresh food is their number one priority when clocking in for a shift at Arby's. In a Quora thread asking if the restaurant's food is "good," an Arby's worker confirms, "The food is all prepared at time of order. Its [sic] always fresh and tasty." Another Arby's worker (via Reddit), claims, "...we make almost everything cook-to-order..." and another Redditor who worked at Arby's says, "...the roast beef is never used from the day before. If it is taken out of the warmer and used, it does not go back in at the end of the day." Arby's crew members repeatedly bragging that the food is always fresh and made to order really brings out the roast beef craving in all of us.