Arby’s will offer a duck breast sandwich at a handful of restaurants in the heart of duck-hunting territory, a continuation of the sandwich chain’s annual promotion aimed at lovers of a game meat seldom offered in a quick-service setting.
The sandwich will be sold this Saturday while supplies last at a price of $6.99 a la carte or $8.99 as part of a meal. In past years, sandwiches made with venison and elk sold out within hours in the few branches that offered the limited-time items.
But the aim is to generate a burst of publicity rather than a pop in sales. A big part of the chain’s turnaround has been a marketing focus on meaty sandwiches. Advertising has been built around the tagline, “Arby’s. We have the meats.” The slogan was recently tweaked to add the kicker, “for sandwiches.”
Most consumers will be exposed to the new duck sandwiches via the publicity that’s generated, as the item will be offered in just 16 units, each in a different state. All of the participating stores are located in four narrow north-south corridors called flyways, the paths taken by ducks and geese as they migrate south for the winter. The units were chosen to participate because each is located in an area popular for duck hunting.
The promotion is the latest off-beat marketing move by the sandwich chain. In September, it offered free tattoos of various icons for the chain and its sandwiches, but only to customers who could get to a single tattoo parlor in San Diego on a particular day.
The seared duck breast used in the sandwiches comes from farm-raised birds. The meat is cooked sous-vide style and shipped to units, where it is reheated and served atop a toasted bun. The breast is garnished with crispy onions and a smoked-cherry sauce.
As part of the duck sandwich promotion, Arby’s has partnered with Ducks Unlimited, a group dedicated to preserving the nation’s duck habitats.