Roy Rogers Restaurants announced that it has opened two new franchise locations in travel plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in south central Pennsylvania. The South Midway Travel Plaza in Bedford, Pa., and the Highspire Travel Plaza in the Harrisburg suburb of Middletown, Pa., are both operated by HMSHost, Roy Rogers’ largest franchisee. HMSHost previously operated Steak ‘n Shake restaurants in both locations.

The new restaurants are the first to open under the quick-service restaurant chain’s relaunched expansion program, which was announced in January and centers around growth via franchising. They feature many of the latest brand standards that most recently appeared in four remodeled Roy Rogers restaurants in Maryland, including digital menu boards, new artwork and updated design and imaging. They also will serve up the majority of items found on the traditional Roy Rogers menu, including: burgers such as the famous Double R Bar Burger; roast beef sandwiches made with slow-roasted-on-premises, top (inside) round USDA Choice roast beef; fresh, never frozen, hand-battered and breaded fried chicken; and popular limited-time offers.

Executive Vice President Jeremy Biser said that upgrades throughout the concept have helped Roy Rogers enjoy stronger performance amid the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, which in turn gave both companies the confidence to proceed with the openings at this time.

“We have spent the past 18 to 24 months retooling our entire offering and have seen that endeavor bear fruit in the form of some of the strongest sales numbers we’ve seen in quite a while,” says Biser. “We feel our brand is well-suited for both traditional and non-traditional development, such as these new travel plaza locations, and we’re excited to further strengthen our partnership and relationship with HMSHost.”

Michael Price, vice president of development at HMSHost, said that the company’s longstanding relationship with Roy Rogers, the brand’s legacy and popularity in Pennsylvania, and the investment that has been made in strengthening the menu and overall offering made Roy Rogers a perfect choice to fill the two spaces.

“Our goal is to assemble an exciting and satisfying selection of food concepts in every venue we operate that at once boast mass appeal and are ideal for on-the-go dining,” Price adds. “We are very impressed with the menu and design upgrades Roy Rogers has made and with many operational enhancements behind the scenes and feel our turnpike traveler client base will respond very favorably to the availability of the brand in our plazas.”

Biser said that travel plazas and other non-traditional sites will be a focus area as Roy Rogers moves forward with its expansion efforts. The brand is also interested in working with multi-unit operators to develop traditional locations through area development agreements, especially if they have units that are closed or failing and are looking to replace them with a strong concept that has a proven and flexible operating model and well-established following. Roy Rogers is currently focusing on growth in the Mid-Atlantic region and plans to expand available development territories throughout the East Coast by early 2021.

Franchising, News, Roy Rogers