Arby’s opens in Fort Dodge

Customers flock to new restaurant

—Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Hannah Whaley, left, marketing and communications coordinator for DRM Arby’s; Lisa Hanson, general manager of the Fort Dodge Arby’s; and Abbey Ramsey, director of marketing for DRM Arby’s, sit down to enjoy a meal at the recently opened restaurant in Fort Dodge.

Fort Dodge customers couldn’t wait to try premium deli-inspired sandwiches from Arby’s when the restaurant opened its doors on Dec. 3.

Traffic was backed up on multiple occasions that Monday and throughout the following week on both South 29th Street and Fifth Avenue South — the city’s corridor of commerce.

Arby’s, located at 2908 Fifth Ave. S, is serving up signature sandwiches, including the smokehouse brisket, loaded Italian, Reuben and gyro.

Other classic favorites include the roast beef, beef ‘n cheddar, Jamocha shake, curly fries and mozzarella sticks.

The newest item on the menu is the the Arbynator. Available for a limited time, this creation features roast beef, cheese sauce, Horsey Sauce, Arby’s Sauce and curly fries, all in the same sandwich.

—Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Tasha Reese, left, and Natasha Grady, employees at Arby’s, work on an order at the recently opened Fort Dodge restaurant.

“It is the most Arby’s sandwich Arby’s has ever made,” Abbey Ramsey, DRM Arby’s director of marketing, said.

Nick Ehrhardt, of Humboldt, ordered the brisket and a side of mozzarella sticks during a recent visit.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a little bit,” he said. “Fort Dodge has done a good job of bringing different restaurants in.”

The service was pretty good for having just opened, he said.

“It was sort of busy for a mid-afternoon,” Ehrhardt said. “But it was fast.”

—Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Cars line up on South 29th Street waiting to turn left into the Arby’s drive-through on the restaurant’s first day open in Fort Dodge. Fort Dodge Police occasionally intervened to keep traffic from backing up too much.

Lisa Hanson is the general manager of the Fort Dodge Arby’s.

She said operations were going well.

“Everything is running smooth,” Hanson said. “The employees are catching on fast.”

In its first day of operation, the restaurant processed 1,200 transactions, Ramsey reported.

About 8,000 transactions were processed after the first week.

Marc Johnson, president and CEO of DRM, Inc., the Arby’s franchisee, was in Fort Dodge recently.

He said the company had been looking to locate in Fort Dodge for a long time.

“Our company has been looking in the area for 15 years and we found the right location,” Johnson said.

He’s looking forward to being part of the community.

“We are just ecstatic at the response we are getting from Fort Dodge,” Johnson said. “The welcome from the comunity. We are here to do our part and be a good steward of the community.”

DRM, a family owned and operated company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, has 23 Arby’s in Iowa, including Fort Dodge.

DRM has operated Arby’s restaurants in the Iowa market since 1977. Fort Dodge is their 93rd Arby’s restaurant in the Midwest. More than 3,200 Arby’s restaurants exist in the United States.

The building Arby’s is housed in was home to Fazoli’s before that restaurant closed in February.

The 3,500-square-foot space was converted into an Arby’s restaurant.

Inside the establishment, up to 88 guests can enjoy seating options including a communal table or eating bar with bright red chairs and multi-media charging outlets.

According to Ramsey, the Fort Dodge Arby’s is actually a little bigger than most new Arby’s being built.

“It’s very spacious,” she said.

About 50 employees have been hired.

In celebration of the opening, guests can register in-store for a chance to win a $100 Arby’s gift card through January 31.

Guests can enter to win $1,000 by following instructions on their Arby’s receipt.

Arby’s will host a grand opening celebration on Jan. 9 and 10.

Arby’s is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a drive-through option.