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Arby’s introduces a burger to its menu for the first time

The chain is taking on McDonald's and Wendy's more directly with the Wagyu Steakhouse Burger, which features the quick-service sector's largest patty to date.
Arby's Wagyu Beef Steakburger
Photo courtesy of Arby's

Arby's has long acted like a burger chain without actually having a burger on its menu. Until now.

And unsurprisingly, it's a big one.

The Atlanta-based sandwich chain on Monday is launching the Wagyu Steakhouse Burger, the first time it has had a burger on its menu. The sandwich will run as a limited-time offer through July 31 at participating locations, selling for $5.99.

The patty is a blend of 48% ground beef and 52% American Wagyu, which is a cross between Japanese Wagyu and top American cattle breeds. Arby’s claims it’s the largest single patty in the quick-service segment, with a raw weight of 6.4 ounces—50% larger than McDonald’s Quarter Pounder.

Arby's has long mimicked many burger chains like Wendy's and McDonald's, offering meat-centric sandwiches served with fries and a drink, effectively competing with those chains without offering the same products. The launch of the Wagyu Steakhouse Burger plants the chain firmly into that space, at least for a time. The chain has also worked on the burger for two years. 

“Boring burgers are a fast-food staple, so Arby’s felt compelled to raise the bar with a Wagyu Steakhouse Burger. Instead of focusing on making billions of mediocre burgers, we’re taking a stance on high-quality meat that deserves to be cooked properly,” Patrick Schwing, Chief Marketing Officer of Arby’s, said in a statement. “As the meat experts, we’ve spent over two years of dedicated research and development to deliver a premium burger that redefines what’s possible from a drive-thru.”

The premium burger is prepared sous-vide style, using a technique more common in fine dining. The cooking method results in a juicy burger with a crispy outer edge and slightly pink center, Arby’s said in a statement.

Sous vide cooking eases execution, as the meat is cooked low and slow and doesn’t require as much attention from the kitchen team. It also assures that the burger doesn’t get overdone.

The Wagyu Steakhouse Burger is topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion and a special burger sauce and served on a toasted brioche bun. Guests can also choose to add bacon and ranch.

The 3,500-unit Arby’s has built a reputation for using unique, higher-end cuts of meat in its sandwiches. In the past, the chain has menued elk, duck and venison in LTOs.

“We’re big on bringing surprising ideas to the fast-food drive-thru space, always trying to bring the type of $12-$15 sandwiches sold at indies to the $5 range," Neville Craw, VP of culinary innovation for Arby’s, previously told Restaurant Business.

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