Founded in 1968, the brand owes its name and branding to the legendary cowboy actor and singer, Roy Rogers. However, despite its star-studded namesake, the enterprise was the brainchild of the Marriott Corporation.
Keen to diversify its portfolio and capitalize on the growing fast-food market, Marriott leveraged Roy’s wholesome cowboy image to lend a distinctive persona to its new venture.
Unlike many of its contemporaries that specialized in a limited selection of fast food staples, Roy Rogers Restaurants dared to be different. It offered a wider array of fare — from burgers and fried chicken to roast beef sandwiches and a breakfast bar.
Its “Fixin’s Bar,” where customers could customize their orders with a variety of toppings, was another novel concept that proved popular among patrons.
Roy Rogers locations expanded massively starting in the 1970s
Roy Rogers Restaurants quickly gathered steam, expanding from coast to coast throughout the 1970s and ’80s. At the chain’s peak in the early ’90s, over 600 locations were serving up Roy’s signature dishes across the United States.
However, the fast-food landscape is as unpredictable as the Wild West, and the chain faced its share of challenges. In the ’90s, Hardee’s acquired the chain, with plans to convert the restaurants to its own brand. This move met with significant backlash from loyal customers, and proved to be less successful than anticipated.
Roy Rogers Restaurants are still in business today
The Roy Rogers brand survived, albeit on a smaller scale. Today, around 50 Roy Rogers still operate, primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region. These enduring outposts continue to serve up the chain’s unique trio of burgers, roast beef, chicken and the Fixin’s Bar remains a beloved feature. (Find out if there’s one near you by visiting their site here.)
While the Roy Rogers Restaurants of today may not have the widespread presence they once enjoyed, they still carry the spirit of their namesake, offering hearty fare with a touch of old-school charm. And in the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of fast food, that’s a legacy worth tipping your hat to.
Old Roy Rogers Family Restaurant sign (1968)
Old Roy Rogers exterior & neon wagon sign (1969)
The real Roy Rogers opening the 100th RR restaurant (1969)
Vintage Roy Rogers Family Restaurant sign (1974)
Roy Rogers restaurant menu items (1974)
HOWDY PODNER… A Western style welcome from family restaurants where lunch or dinner can be as little as $1.15
1/4 lb. Western Style Cheeseburger Platter: Freshly ground pure beef and dairy fresh cheese sizzling on a golden sesame seed bun, with fries and tangy cole slaw.
Western Style Fried Chicken Platter: Big pieces, big flavor ‘n skillet hot. Probably the best you ever ate that somebody else fixed, with fries and tangy cole slaw.
Roy Rogers Roast Beef Platter: Tender, juicy roast round of beef sliced real thin and stacked high on a hot sesame bun. Served with fries and tangy cole slaw.
Double-R-Bar Burger Platter: Full 1/4 lb. freshly ground pure beef, dairy fresh cheese and lean, tender, thin-sliced ham — a triple treat on a toasted sesame seed bun, with fries and tangy cole slaw.
1/4 lb. Western Style Hamburger: Freshly ground pure beef sizzling on a golden sesame bun, with fries and tangy cole slaw.
Old Roy Rogers restaurant table with plates of food (1976)
Little girl eating at a RR restaurant (1977)
Vintage Roy Rogers restaurant exterior lighted signs (1977)
Old Roy Rogers restaurant at a shopping mall
Eating inside at a vintage RR restaurant (1978)
The 70s RR dining room decor and tables (1978)
Vintage Roy Rogers fast food (1980)
Roy Rogers restaurant exterior & updated logo (1981)
Old Roy Rogers restaurant exterior with signs (1982)
Vintage 80s Roy Rogers food packaging (1982)
Roy Rogers breakfast buffet (1983)
Roy Rogers restaurant takeout food (1984)