Arby’s Insists It Will Always Only Ever Have the Meats

The chain emphatically denies rumors of plans to partner with Impossible Foods to put a plant-based option on its menu.

DAWSONVILLE, GA - JANUARY 25:  General view of an Arby's restaurant on January 25, 2018 in Dawsonville, Georgia.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Arby's)

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DAWSONVILLE, GA - JANUARY 25: General view of an Arby's restaurant on January 25, 2018 in Dawsonville, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Arby's)

Photo by: Rick Diamond

Rick Diamond

Arby’s has the meats, and no, there are no plans for that to change.

Despite recent reports that it was exploring a partnership with Impossible Foods to bring a plant-based meat option to its menu – as other fast food chains including Burger King and Little Caesars are doing -- the carnivore-geared fast food chain is staking its claim as a dissenter in the midst of a growing trend.

“It won’t happen on my watch,” Arby’s President Rob Lynch told Fortune of the reported move toward a meat-free menu item. “The only way would be if I got fired for some reason.”

Lynch was part of an Arby’s turnaround that positioned the restaurant as a destination for emphatic and unapologetic consumers of meats, including not just beef, chicken, turkey and pork, but also deer, fish, duck, lamb and elk. The brand has even deliberately tweaked the meat-averse – launching a help line for vegetariansin which they were confronted with the sound of sizzling bacon in 2015 and the following year holding a tongue-in-cheek vegetarian-menu day in which they served meat-free sandwiches that were simply an empty bun.

“We proudly put less vegetables on our sandwiches than anyone,” Lynch told Fortune, before taking a (gratuitous, arguably) swipe at Impossible Foods plant-based products, which he suggested were not meat. “It would be like if I called my roast beef sandwich a broccoli sandwich. It’s just not the real thing.”

Nevertheless, despite Lynch’s adamant refutation, the wording of the company’s official statement, while equally emphatic, on the matter seemed to some to leave the door to an Impossible Foods collaboration ever so slightly ajar.

“The chances we will bring plant-based menu items to our restaurants, now or in the future,” a spokesman told sites including Food and Wine, “are absolutely impossible.”

Yeah, actually, no. Cute wording or not, that’s a pretty clear denial there, too.

Photo: GettyImages

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