Roy Rogers Restaurants
"Roy Rogers rides again!" 
|Roy Rogers Restaurants|
|Wholly owned subsidiary|
|Headquarters||Frederick, Maryland, US|
Number of locations
|Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia|
|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 October 2016, Roy Rogers has 54 stores: 24 corporate and 30 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 2017, the Plamondon Companies own and operate 24 Roy Rogers Restaurants and oversee 30 franchise locations in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company is seeking franchisees to continue Roy Rogers expansion throughout the Mid-Atlantic 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.
- 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: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 2006: Roy Rogers Restaurants rank 4th in the Franchise Times "20 to Watch in 2006."
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. Numerous locations offer hand dipped milkshakes made with Edy's Ice Cream.
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 people 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 alibis for the night Brooks died. The case went unsolved for 15 years, until DNA identified 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.
As of October 2016, there are 54 total Roy Rogers Restaurants in 6 states:
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