Could Roy Rogers return to the Delaware Valley in 2017

roysBy Alex Lloyd Gross

Roy Rogers , the hamburger chain that was best known not only for their burgers , but chicken and roast beef as well, is making a comeback and has eyes on the Delaware Valley. According to CEO Jim Plamondon,  “The Philadelphia area is a key area that we are focusing on”.  The burger chain is different from Roys from 1970 to1980.  Back then, there was split rail fencing that was used as a line cue and the counter help wore  skirts and cowboy attire.  That is gone but according to Plamondon, “We are into the nostalgia from that period”.

So why not just find a spot and open it up? According to Plamondon, he wants to franchise this first. In his opinion, that is the way to go.  The problem is finding someone that has the right values, enough money and  can get a good location.  According to the website

It cost about a million and a half dollars to open one up. “The cost is much lower  if we have an existing location, already suited for our business”, Plamondon said.  If one thing is looked at when looking for a location the geographic area. The fact that the city just instituted a soda tax of 1.5 cents per ounce is enough to dissuade someone from coming into the city to open up a place that sells food. Soda is a large part of the restaurant business. If people are reluctant to buy a product, it could cause the business to fail.  Suburban locations are more feasible for right now, which is where Plamondon is looking..

“in our height, in 1990, we had 648 locations up and running”, Plamondon said. So what happened? in short, Hardees bought the Roy Rogers brand and wanted to  turn them into Hardees.  That worked out about as good as giving an alligator a bath. It failed and the real estate was  turned into Boston Chicken. When that failed, the places changed their name to Boston Market.  There are a few Roy’s locations locally but they are franchised by HMS Host and can only be found on area turnpike rest stops. Roy Rogers locations in New Jersey were converted into Wendy’s or Burger King.

Plamondon said that Roys is looking for the best people when they hire. that means they get paid more than the $7.25 minimum wage.  “There is no one working for us that makes $7.25, except maybe a 15 year old fresh out of school. We are fair and competitive. If i want the best people i have to pay them more or they will leave” he said.

Gino’s made a comeback, briefly in 2011 in Bensalem and King of Prussia before closing up shop, due to poor management and lackluster sales. Plamondon  wants to make sure that when Roy Rogers opens it stays open. Roy Rogers just opened a few restaurants in  central New Jersey but that is about 80 minutes from Philly .

He is in talks with a few people and will hopefully bring  a Roys to the region before the close of 2017.