Last year’s viral success of US restaurant chain Arby’s limited-edition NZ venison sandwich looks set for a repeat this year. The popular menu item is reappearing for a limited time throughout the US from 21 October. Predictions suggest it will sell out in hours.
At this time last year, the world’s largest sandwich restaurant brand launched the limited edition version, including grass-fed, free-range New Zealand venison, in the five select hunting-centric states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennysylvania, Tennessee and Georgia. Participating restaurants sold out within hours and the unique offering generated an outpouring of requests from hunters and meat lovers across the country, hoping to try Arby’s take on venison.
That success has led to Arby’s placing the New Zealand venison sandwich on the menu as a limited time option at every one of its 3,228 US restaurants.
“The positive response to our limited offering of venison last year was so widespread and passionate that we knew we had to find a way to offer it nationwide, explains Jim Taylor, Arby’s chief marketing officer.
“On October 21, we want hunters and meat enthusiasts across the country to visit their local Arby’s and enjoy this amazing sandwich. It’s a perfect example of the level of innovation coming from our teams and our commitment to creating experiences that guests can only get at Arby’s.”
One US newspaper, Tulsa World, is picking the sandwiches will sell out in minutes in the city. An article quotes a spokesman for Arby’s largest franchisee, “As you can imagine, it’s difficult to source a venison supplier for 3,300 Arby’s restaurants and be able to sell venison on the open market for a limited time. It’s just not sustainable,” he says.
Mountain River Venison’s marketing director John Sadler created the successful item with Arby’s last year and has been working since on getting enough venison together for this year’s promotion – a total of more than 226,000 steaks. He is delighted the new promotion has already gathered plenty of positive PR coverage.
“It is very exciting to get this coverage, especially as venison is such a niche item,” he says. With limited quantities available for each store, an average of just 70 steaks each, he is anticipating they will sell out very quickly.
He met with his Arby’s counterparts at its Atlanta headquarters earlier this month and reports they were very excited about the potential product and the social media response to the product was very significant.
“As I mentioned at the Deer Industry Conference earlier this year, this is a big deal for the New Zealand deer industry,” he says.
Arby’s mouth-watering description of the 2017 sandwich says it features a thick-cut New Zealand venison steak and crispy onions topped with a juniper berry sauce on a toasted star-topped speciality roll. “The venison is marinated in garlic, salt and pepper and cooked sous-vide for three hours to juicy, tender perfection. The juniper berry sauce is a Cabernet steak sauce infused with juniper berries, giving the already unique sandwich another signature twist.”
With the Venison Sandwich now available nationwide, Arby’s culinary team has added a limited-edition Elk Sandwich, again using Mountain River venison this time sourced specifically from New Zealand wapiti/elk deer. This will be available in three restaurants in the popular elk hunting states of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.
Arby’s was founded in 1964 and is the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,300 restaurants in seven countries.