After bad sales abroad, Arby's could be for sale

An SUV sits at the pick-up window of an Arby's restaurant.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: Where's the beef? Apparently not at Arby's. The chairman of the Wendy's Arby's group said this morning he's considering selling Arby's and putting the focus on Wendy's.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer is on the roast beef beat for us this morning and she joins us live. Good morning.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Good morning.

HOBSON: Nancy, Why is Wendy's Arby's trying to sell the Arby's chain?

MARSHALL GENZER: Arby's has been struggling. Sales have been lagging. The recession took a big bite out of the entire fast food business. Arby's was hit especially hard because it didn't introduce "value" meals until last year. Consumers went to cheaper chains. But Arby's isn't the only brand in limbo. Yum Brands announced yesterday it was splitting off the A&W and Long John Silvers chains. It wants to focus on Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell.

HOBSON: Alright before we make the listeners too hungry, why is there all this upheaval in fast food industry?

MARSHALL GENZER: I'm already hungry Jeremy. As I mentioned the tough economy has made consumers less likely to eat out at any chain. But, it's also becoming harder for these chains to grow. The only way to do that now is to steal customers away from competitors or grow internationally. Wendy's is better known than Arby's and in a better position to expand around the world. That's the same issue Yum Brands faced. KFC is growing fastest in China. Long John Silvers and A&W are more niche brands, and they've had trouble getting traction abroad.

HOBSON: Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer, thanks so much.

MARSHALL GENZER: You're welcome.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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