UPDATE: Arby's Responds To Roast Beef Confetti Query

A few days ago, we told you about Mark’s Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich which was made with beef-confetti rather than the slices of beef which are normally served. Mark fired off a letter to Arby’s and actually received a reply. In case you were losing sleep thinking about how such an enigmatic sandwich came to be, Arby’s supplies an explanation. Original not-safe-for-lunch photo and Arby’s response, inside…


Mark writes,

I sent in a complaint through the Arby’s website and, shockingly, I got a really great, and fast, response. This may actually get me to eat at Arby’s more than once every other month…

Well… Maybe not.

Response below:

—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—–

Mark,

I want to apologize for the product you received at the Arby’s on San Mateo location. I just spoke to the manager and supervisor in charge of this location and informed me they had a mechanical issue with the slicer. They should have explained to you they were having an issue with this piece of equipment. We now have another slicer that is working. I know this is not an excuse for providing this type of product, however I am be putting a couple of free meals in the mail as I am writing this email.

Again, I do apologize and we have taken care of this equipment issue. I hope you will return.

Sincerely,

Gary Chaves

Vice President – Operations

Never having operated a commercial meat slicer it’s difficult to gauge the validity of this explanation which really leaves more questions than answers. How does a slicer go from “slice” to “puree?” Then again, maybe we don’t want to know the awful truth behind the beef-confetti.

PREVIOUSLY: Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich, Now With Beef Confetti?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. punkrawka says:

    A human response with an actual apology, explanation and remedy? Good on them!

  2. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    I’m just saying that maybe if you’re the vice president of operations for a nationwide fast food restaurant, you could possibly, I don’t know , say for example, maybe, possibly; and this is conjecture here: actually use proper grammar in your email to a consumer. I am not a grammarian or a stickler but it seems to me that a company V.P. would have the education and/or sense to write a letter that doesn’t have to be deciphered by the all your bases are belong to us school of internet grammar. Two sentences in particular, stick out like a sore thumb. They are: I just spoke to the manager and supervisor in charge of this location and informed me they had a mechanical issue with the slicer. and , however I am be putting a couple of free meals in the mail as I am writing this email. Heh!

  3. ShirtMac says:

    How does a slicer go from “slice” to “puree?”

    The knob that controls the thichness of the slices gets stripped while being cleand and sticks at a setting that “shaves” the meat.

  4. Infe says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know: Stretching a bit thin to find something to complain about? Sheesh.

    Personally, I would rather have grammar slightly off if it means a real human answered it. At least he didn’t get some form letter with perfect grammar, instantly fired off from an auto emailer.

  5. RvLeshrac says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know:

    HR requires that upper management consist of college graduates. There are, unfortunately, no required levels of intelligence or education. You can compare this to the current situation in IT, where individuals are often hired for their certifications – summarily hosing various bits of equipment that the ‘uneducated’ among us have to reconfigure at two in the morning.

    —-

    With regard to the slicer, anyone who owns a meat slicer (You can buy one at Sears! Cut your own lunchmeat! Save $$$! Be like Kramer!) knows that they can screw up in a variety of interesting ways. Dull blades, chipped blades, wobbling blades, thrown bearings… each one does different things to your meat. The bearings are the most disturbing, though, since they get oil all over your food. Food-grade oil (depending on what brand of slicer you have), but it still looks disturbing.

    Ideally, these stores should have multiple blades and multiple slicers on-hand. Unfortunately, professional (read: “The health department requires that we have Brand X”) slicers can cost upwards of $2-3k, so most restaurants don’t keep spare parts or units.

  6. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know: Sadly, I’ve noticed that particularly when replying by e-mail, people’s spelling and grammar range from atrocious to mediocre. Most people treat e-mail as informal communications, whether it be your Aunt Phyllis or the Vice President of Operations at Arby’s.

    Don’t sweat the grammar…at least Mark received a real letter from a real person and an apology. I’d say that’s pretty good.

  7. clnclarinet says:

    I hope the free meals in the mail still taste good when they get there!

  8. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Folks… I have long experience with the grammar of high-level academics and businessmen, as first a professional proofreader for academic journals, and then as an executive secretary who took dictation. (OK, I apparently know more obsolete skills than a Civil War reenactor. Moving along.)

    In my experience, the idea that you can tell a person’s socioeconomic status from their grammar applies only up to a certain point. After that, anything goes. For example, the professional grad student is likely to run grammatical circles around their professors. High-level academics don’t often make the simplest mistakes, but they are notorious for a certain “we’ll leave that to the people we pay to do it” mentality. High-level businessmen? Well, I worked for a top Houston real estate broker who I strongly suspected of being functionally illiterate, or at least dyslexic. He could evidently read, but I never saw him ever actually write anything but his signature and he did not so much as possess a computer. His case is kind of out there, but it’s a known fact that executives hire secretaries to do the correspondence-polishing work for them. I was always given free rein to “translate” dictation into good grammar and diction.

    So what you see here in the Arby’s letter is probably a sincere effort directly from the e-pen of the executive in question. If he had wanted to bullshit the recipient, he could have had his secretary transcribe and send, or even write, the note for him. Beelzebub knows I’ve done a few in my time.

  9. MrMold says:

    Since Arby’s is selling roast beef Spam, what is your issue?

  10. Brain.wav says:

    If a slicer is set too thin, many meats will “puree.” They just don’t have the… well… meat to hold together when that thin.

  11. nadmonk says:

    Let’s call it what it realy is: long pork

  12. Doug81 says:

    It’s good to see a situation taken seriously without having to say it.

  13. Indecent says:

    It’s great to see that at least Arbee’s actually responds to complaints and is a chain that is still consumer minded (even if I agree the broken slicer is probably a lie).

    And the link to soylent green rocked my morning.

  14. majortom1029 says:

    Some stupid employee prob used a knife to clean the blade and screwed up the blade and it cuts meat like that now. Yes people are stupid and do this. to take the easy and lasy way out of cleaning a slicer people grab a knife turn on the slicer and scrape the knife along the spinning blade. its very dangerous to do this but this is what happens when stupid people are hired to work around slicers.

  15. Rando says:

    Not sure if anyone knew this or stated (haven’t read the comments) but Arby’s ‘roast beef’ comes in a bag in gel form and is heated up which turns it into a solid. They then cut it and serve it.

    It’s not roast beef…more like salt water with brown coloring.

  16. JN2 says:

    I was at Arby’s once and asked the server what part of the horse the Horsey Sauce came from.

    I didn’t get a satisfactory answer so I haven’t returned.

  17. einstoch says:

    “however I am be”. Awesome grammar coming from the VP of operations.

    I’m glad this got resolved. I have seen use of confetti meat at places like Subway though.

  18. Maybe I’m alone here, but I think that the shredded beef option looks more appealing than the normal stuff. Maybe I’m just too much of a bbq fan, though, and that’s tainting my opinion.

  19. WorkingInDust says:

    This is what the meat looks like when one of a few things happens -

    -The ‘roast’ they’re using was from the night before and wasn’t properly wrapped and dried out in the warmer.

    -It had been under the lamp too long and dried out

    -Dull blade and super thin (but those are pretty good sized chunks in the picture)

    -They got a bad roast from the supplier (doesn’t happen often but it does)

    So out of 4 possibilities the ‘broken equipment’ story is plausible but in this case unlikely. I’ll go for number 2 because of the pieces of meat with the dark brown on them (burnt)

    And while I don’t want to admit it – Yes I worked at an Arby’s long ago

  20. AlexTNOA says:

    I would guess Major Tom is on the right track – the blade was probably dulled for some reason and wouldn’t cut the meat correctly, so instead of sliced meat, they were serving chopped.

    I’m not sure why its such an issue (in principle, anyway, eating at Arby’s is, IMHO, a mistake to begin with), as you have the choice between sliced and chopped brisket at BBQ restaurants.

  21. basket548 says:

    @einstoch: @gc3160 – that homo that u know:

    Honestly, complaining about the grammar in a quick email from an executive?? It’s not a press release, and sure as hell was not meant to be distributed publicly. I had no problem reading exactly what he meant, even if the grammar was not perfect. Welcome to the corporate world, where you’re often doing several things at once and can’t always get exactly the right words in a less important email. If he had messed up some your/you’re or their/there’s, then maybe I’d be concerned. But clearly just messing a couple words (needed a ‘they’ and to delete the ‘be’), now you’re just grasping at straws to complain about it.

  22. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    “I am be putting a couple of free meals in the mail “

    Classic!

  23. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    BTW, I’m not complaining about the grammar, I just find humor in it. Also, it is proof that this wasn’t some sort of automated response, as I’m sure they would have double checked those before setting it up.

  24. Mr_D says:

    @Rando: Don’t tell anyone, but I heard Taco Bell uses a lower grade meat than in dog food!

  25. Rupan says:

    @Rando: Not so much.

    [www.snopes.com]

  26. Myrddraal says:

    @Rando: Urban legend alert. It is just like the urban legend about Taco Bell serving grade D beef.

  27. TheBigLewinski says:

    Job well done by Arbys’ management. Here here…

  28. RobinB says:

    The response needed coupons for free stuff.

  29. MissNikki says:

    They can afford a couple free meals with all the people who, sadly, got hungry for Arby’s after looking at the original post.

  30. tkozikow says:

    @majortom1029: The thought of that sends chills down my spine. I had a friend in high school (mid-80s) who nearly sliced off his thumb because the safety guard was removed from a slicer since it made the unit easier to keep clean.

  31. failurate says:

    I don’t think I would have thought anything of this sandwich. Being a fan of BBQ, I would have figured that Arby’s was just going with a different style.

    I am be not a very picky eater.

  32. apotheosis says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know:

    issue with the slicer. And , however I am

    Li’l som’n you missed there, Grumpy Grampy McGrammar.

  33. apotheosis says:

    Well done. And rare.

    The response, not the meat.

  34. Propaniac says:

    Seriously, I’m a total grammar and punctuation stickler in most cases, but in this case I think it just shows the guy was writing it personally and probably didn’t take an extra minute to proofread. At my job, I get e-mails all day from superiors who are smart and competent and know worlds of stuff that I barely understand, but their actual writing in their e-mails is one step above lolcat-level. An e-mail like the one this guy sent where he just omitted or threw in an extra word or two would be outstanding.

    I’d much rather have a personally written e-mail that directly addresses the problem and offers an apparently sincere apology than an impeccable form letter that says nothing.

  35. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @AlteredBeast: Classic what? Any idiot can tell he initially wrote “I will be putting…”, decided to make it more immediate by writing “I am putting…”, tried to delete the “…will be…”, and the stupid word processor (I’m sure it was Word) didn’t read his mouse swipe accurately. In his haste to get back to the consumer efficiently, he just missed the fact that the program didn’t make the correction he asked it to. No ignorance necessary.

  36. forgottenpassword says:

    Descent response I guess. AT least its not a form letter with the usual “taking it seriously” phrase.

    I have always liked arby’s & its food. Never had much of a problem with them.

    btw…. I LOVE playing around with my work’s slicer. Just like on seinfeld… it is true it gets a bit fun slicing stuff. I especially love slicing hard salami as thin as possible! Makes a sammich taste much better IMO.

    As for great grocery store bought deli meat….I gotta reccommend hillshire farms “deli select” ultra-thin deli meat (especially their mesquite turkey & pastrami) & Carando brand thin sliced hard salami. MMMMMM!

  37. ClayS says:

    @forgottenpassword:
    It seems the thinner meat is sliced, the better it tastes. It must be a textural thing.

    Thanks a lot, now I’m hungry and its nowhere near lunchtime.

  38. Balisong says:

    @Rando: Christ, it’s amazing what people will believe. Salt gel cooked into a solid, becoming roast beef. That doesn’t even make sense!

    I work in an office and have never seen more horrible grammar than what I get from my co-workers. (There/their/they’re – learn how to use them, please!) A recent email contained the gem “I have know doubt that…” Aside from that, it’s great to see that the letter even explains how the issue was resolved. Go Arby’s!

  39. jpx72x says:

    @apotheosis: Once you graduate from high school, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the seven words listed as coordinating conjunctions so long as you use them adverbially.

  40. jpx72x says:

    @apotheosis, @jpx72x: (Not so phantom edit) Once you graduate from high school, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the seven words listed as coordinating conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence so long as you use them adverbially.

  41. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I’d be happy with getting any response from Arby’s!
    I’ve emailed them several times as to why they still list this restaurant on their website:
    Unit #00762, 847-967-1245
    7001 W DEMPSTER AVE, NILES,IL 60714

    They never respond.
    It’s been closed for two years & has on the sign “Closed For Remodeling”

    Yeah, sure!

  42. apotheosis says:

    @jpx72x:
    I’m fairly sure you need to capitalize the first letter at the beginning of a sentence, unless you’re trent reznor.

    Hence the boldface on the “A”.

    Also, your mom.

  43. kjherron says:

    I worked at an Arby’s for about five years back in the ’80s. The description of Arby’s roast beef in the snopes article contains a bit of spin. The Arby’s website has this ingredients list:

    “Trimmed Boneless Beef Chunks (Minimum 70%) Combined with Chopped Beef for a Maximum of 12% Fat. Contains up to 9.0% of a Self-Basting Solution of Water, Salt, Sodium Phosphate.”

    My recollection was that it was beef chunks held together with a stabilizer consisting of a thick, gelatinous mix of shredded beef. It’s probably very similar to processed ham or turkey cold cuts. It arrived at the store raw and frozen in loaf-shaped 10 lb bags. After thawing, it’d be roasted for 4 hours in a convection oven, then allowed to rest for half an hour.

    And yeah, you get shredded beef like in the photo if the slicer is set to slice too thin, or the blade’s dull. It’s not practical to sharpen the blade during business hours. The main beef slicer was in the sandwich assembly area, and beef was sliced to order. We had a second slicer in the back room for other meats; it could be used for beef in an emergency, but it would have been a pain.

  44. failurate says:

    Talk about inflation, worms are now $25+ per pound! Ray Kroc was be in the wrong business.

  45. dorianh49 says:

    @speedwell: He might be referring to the ‘putting meals in the mail’ bit. I’d prefer coupons, personally. ;)

  46. Tom Servo says:

    Good on Arby’s! I’m not a huge fan of their food, but I’m glad to see they take customer service seriously. And, having worked in a deli with meat slicers, I do find their explanation plausible. Too thin or too dull of a blade will not cut deli meat properly.

  47. Geekmom says:

    @Indecent:

    You’re confused! Burger King is people!

  48. witeowl says:

    @speedwell: I agree. Rather than ignorance, both major errors appear to be victims of incomplete editing.

    Kind of like the kinds types of errors you’ll sometimes find in my posts on certain forums where I can’t don’t let me edit after submitting. (^,^)

  49. snoop-blog says:

    sorry guys, but I use to do all the slicing for the Jimmy Johns in my area that I worked at for 2 years. In that 2 years time, we never had a single issue with the slicer. All slicers have a built in sharpener. This was straight up scraps, and yes I also worked for an arbys for a year so I can tell you, for sure, it was scraps. This letter is just making up an excuse, and it IS a damn good one, because it’s believable to those who’ve never worked around slicers.

  50. ilovemom says:

    I’m really surprised the beef is actually sliced at the restaurant. And good job Arby’s, despite the poor grammar. It’s not too surprising, since high level types are pretty busy (at least they appear to be where I work). He probably spent about 10 seconds typing this and 0 proofreading it- if he actually typed it himself.

  51. bleh says:

    YAY to Arby’s corporate for replying without using a robot.

    BOO to them for lying.

    Will consumers ever win?

  52. Breach says:

    Mmmm, beefetti

    At least they were prompt about the apology and tried to make it right, though the explanation is doubtful. It sounds more like some lazy kid didnt want to slice up more meat and just used the nasty bits left over from other sandwiches.

  53. JasonKeiderling says:

    I was a manager for Arby’s for about 4 years and I can tell you with absolute certainty that when a slicer needs new blades this is the result every time. Here’s the problem. With a sharp bladed slicer, you can cut beef very thin without a problem. With a dull slicer, you either make super-thick slices or you try to cut somewhat thin and get the slices torn up by the not-sharp-enough blade. Super-thick slices would result in every sandwich having 1 slice of beed and still being too big, so anyone would try to cut hem thin and result in the “confetti” that you see there. The real solution is new blades for the slicer.

  54. FrankTheTank says:

    @worksintheory:
    Why do you think they’re lying?

    Slicer breaks. They can’t immediately replace or fix it.
    They choose to offer “chopped beef” sandwiches to customers instead of simply not selling their “signature” sandwich.
    Maybe not the decision you or I would have made, and certainly not a great idea not to inform customers of this.

    It’s pointlessly cynical to believe that every corporate message is a lie…

  55. Demonbird says:

    Arby’s… I had a terrible experience at Arby’s yesterday.
    I ordered a beef and cheddar on a regular bun and minus the red ranch they usually serve it with. Instead, I got a usual beef and cheddar. When I asked for them to fix it the man threw the sandwich away after giving me the stink eye for about ten seconds, and then gave me a “fixed” order. It was just a regular roast beef. I told him it should have cheese and asked him to fix it again and he tells another employee to “Get this gringo some cheese” and they just gave me a plastic tub of cheese and told me to do it myself. I am never going to Arby’s again.

  56. Kimbeegrin says:

    I work at a place with a meat slicer. I don’t a result like that is possible unless the person who was operating the meat slicer was not trained properly how to do it.

  57. theblackdog says:

    @Demonbird: Don’t blame all Arbys just because one cashier is a dickhead.

  58. thelushie says:

    This individual probably has about a 100 things to do today but still felt it was important to answer the email personally. Sometimes when I get extremely busy and have to shoot out multiple emails, little errors slip by. I would hope the receiver would realize that I am busy but I felt it was important to communicate with them. Of course, really important emails will have more time and care put into them or, if they are that important, I won’t email but find a more appropriate means of communication.

    @Demonbird: Gringo? I would report that to corporate. Hate speech, perhaps?

    @Balisong: Not just your boss, huh? I find that most are more forgiving of their coworkers in these situations than they are of the bosses. I am not picking on you. I find it more balanced than most of the posts that concentrated on “my boss” or “that academic” or “educated person”.

    Personally, I try to be careful. But in a situation of academic writing, I would rather get the research, review, analysis, etc. right because that is going up for peer review. Missing a period or comma (unless in terms of citations), is not as big of a deal as that is what proofreaders are paid for. And and proofreader can think I am stupid for missing that period, but try to explain to me the statistical analysis in the paper and we will see.

  59. Gann says:

    The free meals are a good gesture. Unless they’re for more Arby’s, then that’s just adding insult to injury.

  60. Juggernaut says:

    “however I am be putting a couple of free meals in the mail”
    I am be laughing my ass off right now!!

  61. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @thelushie: Proofreaders didn’t think you were stupid. We thought you were lazy, or the grad student who typed the thing for you was. And we really didn’t hold it against you. It was job security, for as long as professional proofreaders had any job security.

  62. synergy says:

    How is that picture a puree? That is a picture of the guy’s food, right? I mean, it’s still meat, just not in strips. The complaint could be that it doesn’t look like it usually does, but I don’t see how small pieces of meat vs long strips of meat are a big deal…

  63. Kevino says:

    Great to see the response from the VP.

  64. arsbadmojo says:

    I’m glad Arby’s stood up and admitted there was a problem, apologized and tried to make it right – but still disturbed that the store manager allowed that beef to be served to customers.

  65. Demonbird says:

    @theblackdog:
    I wish it was a cashier… The manager was the one who I spoke with.
    @thelushie:
    I’m going to.

  66. doireallyneedausername says:

    @gc3160 – that homo that u know:

    Well…if you REALLY want to be a stickler for grammar…technically…you’re not putting in free meals in the mail. You’re putting in free meal coupons in the mail. HUGE difference, apparently.

  67. anonairman says:

    I know this is a little late, but I worked at Arby’s 10 years ago when I was in highschool…

    That doesn’t look like a “machine malfunction.” That looks like the chunks left over at the bottom of the slicer that pools over time of cutting during a busy shift… they probobly had to change the “beef” in the middle of making your order and rather than “make you wait” they grabbed that crap at the bottom of the slicer where it pools. I’m not 100% sure that’s “unsanitary” but I know I wouldn’t have eaten it or expected you to do so.

  68. anonairman says:

    I’d also like to add, that although i can’t attest to that particular store’s quality (I’m from Lima, Ohio originaly) I can say that Arby’s is about the only fast food store I will eat at… The folks who own the store in that city were VERY passionate about taking care of the customer and having a quality product–they did not tolerate “taking shortcuts” and ensured thier management was 100% understanding of that policy (and enforced it).

    I worked at McDonalds for 1 month after I turned 16 and not only quit (honestly due to several instances of watching them serve food to customers that they should not have) but will not eat anything at McD’s that didn’t come out of a frier to this day.

  69. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Awesome response from Arby’s. Quick, polite, understanding and personal. Bonus: a satisfactory resolution.

    Really good on Arby’s!

  70. RDProgrammer says:

    This is a valid excuse. I cooked at a cafe for a year and if the slicer’s blade is old it’ll rip up the meat (grab it and tear rather than slice).

  71. DjDynasty says:

    Also looking at the meat, it looks hand sliced and cubed.

  72. RvLeshrac says:

    @snoop-blog:

    Then you were extremely lucky, or the employees took particularly good care of the machine.

  73. detraya says:

    I love how 50% of the consumerists here work with meat slicers.

  74. theblackdog says:

    @detraya: Does it count that I *used* to work with one? ;-)

  75. Kbomb says:

    @anonairman: I also worked at Arby’s about ten years ago and I had the exact same suspicion. It looks like the little bits that accumulate on the tray after slicing for awhile.

    I must confess that on occasion the Roast Beef would get precariously low while the next roast was not due to come out of the oven soon. We would “stretch” some of the roast beef by tucking some of these scraps into the better looking slices, but never would I serve it straight up like this.

    And as it has been said, the roast beef is not really gelatin. Its pressed meat and saline. Not real appetizing, but not completely fake either. Still, when I’m crazy I still crave it now and then– but only drenched in horsey sauce.

  76. heathenkitties says:

    I’ve been reading this site for quite some time now, and I think it’s pretty awesome that a real person responded to this problem and attempted to make it better (free meal coupons). C’mon it’s not a perfect world out there; it’s pretty amazing when a company attempts to do the right thing. Right on, Arby’s!!

  77. Saboth says:

    So it sounds like the OP wasn’t satisfied with that response? He says he was happy to get a response, then said he might eat there more often, then said…maybe not. I fail to see what was wrong with that response.

    On a side note, about a year ago I went to Arbies and it took them 35 minutes to get me my order after asking about it several times. I emailed corporate and never got a response or apology.

  78. Bearcat44 says:

    Dear Arby’s,

    Please bring back the homestyle fries. Not everyone likes curly fries.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I unfortunately had the pleasure of working at Arbys a couple years ago. And I had to use the slicer a lot because they refused to let me work up front (too many “pretty” vacant girls up there already) there is a knob on the slicer that has number settings (usually) that correspond with the thickness..somebody probably thought it would be funny to walk by and turn it..believe me, arby’s is very anal about the meat being to thin..at least the one i worked at was..i got yelled at often because people would do that to me when i was away