Roy Rogers Restaurants
|Wholly owned subsidiary|
|Headquarters||Frederick, Maryland, US|
Number of locations
Roy Rogers (Chain's namesake),|
Jim Plamondon and Peter Plamondon, Jr. (Co-Presidents, Roy Rogers Franchise Company, LLC)
|Products||Fast food (including Hamburgers, Roast beef sandwiches, Fried chicken, and French fries)|
Roy Rogers Franchise Company, LLC is a Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States chain of fast food restaurants founded by the Marriott Corporation in 1968 in Falls Church, Virginia. As of August 2015, Roy Rogers had 51 stores: 20 corporate and 31 franchised. In 2002, the Plamondon Companies purchased the trademark from Imasco, the former parent of Hardee's. Under the new owners the company is headquartered in Frederick, Maryland.
Roy Rogers is a chain of U.S. fast-food family restaurants, numbering over 650 at its peak, named after cowboy movie actor Roy Rogers. Marriott Corporation founded the chain to replace their older Hot Shoppes Jr. fast-food chain, most of which were then converted. They licensed the name from Roy Rogers and operated the restaurants from 1968 through 1990. The first location opened in 1968 in the Bailey's Crossroads section of Falls Church, Virginia, on the corner of Leesburg Pike and Carlin Springs Road (5603 Leesburg Pike), not far from the Hot Shoppes on Columbia Pike. That Roy Rogers is now a McDonald's. Another Jr. Hot Shoppes that became a Roy Rogers was at 5214 River Road, in Bethesda, Maryland, directly across the street from the original headquarters of Marriott Corporation. Marriott senior executives and members of the Marriott family were frequent patrons of the location (the site is also now a McDonald's).
In 1982, Marriott Corporation bought the Gino's restaurant chain for $48.6 million. The company converted 180 of the 313 restaurants to Roy Rogers to expand in the Baltimore/Washington area. In 1990, Marriott sold the chain for $365 million to Hardee's, a Southern chain seeking to expand into the Mid-Atlantic market again. Hardee's converted the remaining non-franchised locations into Hardee's restaurants; many of the new Hardee's continued to feature Roy Rogers' fried chicken. The conversion of the Roy Rogers chain ended in a customer revolt so serious that they actually aborted the idea and returned the Roy Rogers brand to stores initially converted. The restaurants promoted new flame-broiled hamburgers, but they were not the same as the original Roy Rogers products and they later failed.
Hardee's finally sold the remaining Roy Rogers locations to McDonald's, Wendy's and Boston Market between 1994 and 1996. This left 13 Roy Rogers franchisees, with two dozen free-standing locations, in addition to locations owned by HMSHost in travel plazas along highways in the Northeast.
Filming for the first television commercials advertising Roy Rogers Restaurants took place in the Apple Valley, California area where Rogers lived with his family. In 1968 and 1969, Rogers and friends, Earl Bascom and Mel Marion, were filmed at various locations including the historic Las Flores Ranch in Summit Valley and the Campbell Ranch in Victorville.
New ownership, relaunch
Plamondon Companies took the lead among franchisees in developing products, hosting training sessions and shooting new food photography for their stores. Plamondon Companies is run by Jim Plamondon and Peter Plamondon Jr., the two sons of Peter Plamondon Sr., head of the restaurant division at Marriott when the Roy Rogers brand was created. Roy Rogers was relaunched as Roy Rogers Franchise Company, LLC in 2002 when Plamondon Companies bought the trademark and franchise system from Imasco, the former owner of Hardee's. In 1997, CKE Restaurants acquired Hardee's from Imasco, but Imasco held on to the Roy Rogers trademark and franchise system. Plamondon negotiated with Imasco for three years before a private purchase agreement was reached in 2002. The first new Roy Rogers restaurant after many years of decline was opened in Frederick, Maryland by Plamondon in 2000.
Based in Frederick, Maryland, the Plamondon Companies is a privately held company with annual revenues of $20 million. In 1980, the Plamondon Companies opened its doors with their first Roy Rogers restaurant. As of 2012, there are 20 company-owned Roy Rogers Restaurants, while franchisees operate the rest. The company is seeking franchisees to continue Roy Rogers expansion throughout the northeast region.
- 1968: The first Roy Rogers opens at 5603 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia.
- 1970s: Roy Rogers chain flourishes under Marriott. Several hundred franchised and company units open.
- 1970s: First Long Island stores open in Greenvale (Nassau County, New York) and Commack (Suffolk County, New York).
- 1973: Stores in Uniondale, Island Trees and Farmingdale (all Nassau County, New York) open.
- 1975: Long Island store opens in Shirley, New York, in Suffolk County.
- 1976: Roy Rogers in Fairfax, Virginia (on Little River Turnpike at the border of Alexandria, Virginia) is robbed, in a high-profile case, where five employees were herded into the restaurant's freezer and shot in the head. Four people were killed, and one survived.
- 1980s: Franchisee Plamondon Enterprises, Inc. opens seven and acquires three Roy Rogers locations.
- 1982: Marriott purchases the Gino's restaurant chain for $48.6 million and converts many of the restaurants to Roy Rogers.
- 1982: Marriott threatens to take the Riese family, a franchisee, to court when they discovered the Rieses were reserving space for Häagen Dazs and Godfather's Pizza in a property slotted for a Times Square Roy Rogers restaurant.
- 1989: Marriott decides to get out of the fast-food business and sell its Roy Rogers, Howard Johnson's, Bob's Big Boy and other chains to concentrate on its fast-food operations catering to captive buyers at airports and along turnpikes.
- 1990: A total of 648 Roy Rogers locations are in operation—primarily in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
- 1990: Marriott sells Roy Rogers to Hardee's, subsidiary of Imasco, for $365 million in its plan to exit the fast-food business.
- 1990: Hardee's converts 220 Roy Rogers locations to Hardee's.
- 1992: Due to customer loyalty, Hardee's reconverts 220 former Roy Rogers locations back to Roy Rogers.
- 1992: Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor Inc., a New York advertising agency, is hired to promote the Roy Rogers brand.
- 1992: Ronald R. Powell, who ran Roy Rogers from 1985 to 1987 under Marriott, becomes President of Roy Rogers and is believed to have influenced Hardee's decision in dropping its conversion strategy and restoring the chain to its original identity.
- 1993: With much fanfare and a celebrating featuring cowboys and pony rides for children, an experimental super Roy Rogers opens at the Vienna, Virginia location. The store features usual Roy Rogers food items but with added flair, such as third pound burgers, BBQ sauce served with a ladle, and an improved dining room with television screens.
- 1994: Hardee's sells 84 company-owned Roy Rogers restaurants in the Philadelphia region to Boston Market for $22 million.
- 1995: Hardee's sells 45 company-owned Roy Rogers restaurants in the New York region to Wendy's International Inc.
- 1996: Hardee's sells 184 company-owned Roy Rogers restaurants in the Baltimore/Washington region to McDonald's for $74 million.
- 1996: Only 13 Roy Rogers franchisees remain operating a total of about 152 units through the Northeast, including 48 units in highway travel plazas and 15 in New York City.
- 1997: CKE Restaurants (Carl's Jr.) acquires Hardee's from Imasco. Imasco retains Roy Rogers trademark due to a franchisee lawsuit.
- 1997: The Riese family, now franchisees of 18 Roy Rogers restaurants, sues CKE Restaurants and Imasco for $10 million, claiming the Roy Rogers chain has been destroyed through "a series of marketing errors of epic proportions."
- 1997: CKE enters into a management agreement for the six Roy Rogers restaurants currently operated by Hardee's. CKE also agrees to perform services relating to the continued franchise operations of the Roy Rogers restaurant chain for $1.5 million over three years.
- 1990s: Franchisee Plamondon Enterprises, Inc. opens two and acquires three Roy Rogers locations.
- 2000: Plamondon Enterprises, Inc. opens a new Roy Rogers prototype unit in Frederick, Maryland.
- 2001: Plamondon Enterprises, Inc. develops and opens a new Roy Rogers unit in Germantown, Maryland (Sugarloaf Shopping Center) in a former Burger King.
- 2002: Imasco sells Roy Rogers trademark rights to Plamondon Enterprises, Inc. (Roy Rogers Franchise Co.).
- 2003: HMSHost (formerly Host Marriott Services) signs agreement to continue operating Roy Rogers in travel plazas.
- 2003: Roy Rogers Franchise Company unveils its "Roy Rogers Rides Again!" refranchising growth initiative.
- 2003: Roy Rogers Restaurants launches royrogersrestaurants.com website.
- 2004: Roy Rogers opens in Gaithersburg, Maryland in a former Hardee's.
- 2004: Todd Restaurants, Inc. sign new long-term Pioneer Franchise Agreement for its four Roy Rogers locations in Alexandria, Virginia.
- 2005: SmithGifford is selected as the agency of record for Roy Rogers Restaurants.
- 2006: Roy Rogers Restaurants rank 4th in the Franchise Times "20 to Watch in 2006."
- 2007: Roy Rogers opens in Ranson, West Virginia and Westminster, Maryland.
- 2007: Super Value, CT, LLC enters into a long-term Franchise Agreement for a Roy Rogers location in North Stonington, Connecticut.
- 2008: Roy Rogers opens in North Stonington, Connecticut on January 24, 2008.
- 2008: Roy Rogers opens in the renovated Pennsylvania Turnpike Lehigh Valley (Allentown) Service Plaza.
- 2009: Roy Rogers opens a second location in Germantown, Maryland (Fox Chapel Shopping Center) on January 28, 2009 in a former Wendy's.
- 2009: Roy Rogers closes in Manchester, Connecticut leaving one restaurant in Connecticut.
- 2009: Roy Rogers closes in Penn Station, leaving one restaurant in New York City. (The last remaining location in New York is directly across the street from Penn Station on Seventh Avenue.)
- 2009: Roy Rogers Restaurants re-designs royrogersrestaurants.com website.
- 2009: Roy Rogers Restaurants creates official profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- 2009: Last Roy Rogers in Delaware closes on December 26, 2009 for Delaware House Service Plaza redevelopment; it was replaced with Burger King on June 28, 2010.
- 2010: Last Roy Rogers on Long Island closes on November 29, 2010.
- 2012: Last Roy Rogers in Ohio, located on Roney Lane in Mt. Carmel, an eastern suburb of Cincinnati changes its name to Roney's. 2014: Retains a modified Roy Rogers sign at this time.
- 2012: Roy Rogers opens in Burtonsville, Maryland in the new Burtonsville Town Square shopping center.
- 2013: Roy Rogers opens in Waldorf, Maryland at 3310 Crain Highway, in a former Arby's
- 2014: Roy Rogers opens in Rockville, Maryland at 718 Rockville Pike.
- 2015: Last Roy Rogers in New York City, located at 7th Avenue and West 32nd Street, closes in January 2015
- 2015: Roy Rogers opens (in a former Arby's location) at 76 Route 23 in Franklin, NJ.
- 2015: Roy Rogers opens its 50th store on MD-3 in Gambrills, MD.
- 2016: Roy Rogers opens in Aspen Hill, Maryland at 13884 Georgia Avenue.
- 2016: Roy Rogers plans to open off of Magothy Beach Road in Pasadena, MD.
- 2016: Roy Rogers opens in former Chicken Addiction/KFC location in Flemington, NJ.
- 2016: Roy Rogers opens in Brick, NJ.
- 2016: Roy Rogers opens in former Arby's/KFC location in Edison, NJ.
Products and services
Popular items on the menu are roast beef sandwiches and fried chicken, which was advertised by Roy Rogers under the "Pappy Parker" name in the 1980s using a cartoon prospector (the Pappy Parker name was inherited from Marriott's original Hot Shoppes chain). Other signature items at Roy Rogers are the Gold Rush chicken sandwich (a fried chicken breast with bacon, a slice of Monterey Jack cheese, and a honey-based BBQ sauce) and the Double-R Bar Burger (a cheeseburger with ham). The side items featured at Roy Rogers are french fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, baked beans, coleslaw, side salad, fruit cup, and baked apples.
Though standard Roy Rogers locations serve food in a typical fast-food fashion, some locations (such as the locations that were formerly Jr. Hot Shoppes) and the franchises located throughout Mid-Atlantic highway rest-stops serve the food in a cafeteria-style. An exception is the Allentown service plaza on the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension, which serves its customers in the typical fast-food fashion since it reopened in May 2008 (the entire service plaza had been rebuilt from its original form, which included cafeteria-style serving).
In the cafeteria-style restaurants, customers push their trays on rails past stations stocked with pre-wrapped packages of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and roast-beef sandwiches. A feature of this chain in any of the locations is the Fixin's Bar which features numerous condiments. Because of this, sandwich items are delivered without any of the customary garnishes. After selecting and paying for these items, patrons can garnish them to their own taste at the Fixin's Bar with such items as ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions. Some locations have Edy's Ice Cream; until 2013 locations had Hershey's Ice Cream. The Franklin, NJ location is also equipped with a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine at its Fixin's Bar.
On the morning of February 4, 1984, 25-year-old assistant manager, Terri Brooks, was found murdered in the kitchen of a Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania location. She was found badly beaten, with a bag over head and a large kitchen knife sticking out of her neck. She was most likely killed the night before, while she was closing the restaurant. The restaurant's safe was open and empty, which led police to believe she was killed by two unknown men who had robbed three other fast food locations in the area the previous week. However, after the men were later captured, they were able to provide solid alibi's for the night Brooks died. The case went unsolved for 15 years, until DNA ruled Brooks' then-fiance, Alfred Keefe, as the killer. In 2000, Keefe was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The case was featured on Cold Case Files, as well as various Investigation Discovery shows. The building has since been converted into a McDonald's-BP gas station combo.
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