Google Plus Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Vimeo RSS

Roy Rogers owner: Central Pa. could play role in revived restaurant chainInterest seen among possible franchisees in midstate

By ,
Jim Plamondon is leading a resurgence of Roy Rogers and looking at Central Pa. to open new locations. Pictured is a location in Burtonsville, Md.
Jim Plamondon is leading a resurgence of Roy Rogers and looking at Central Pa. to open new locations. Pictured is a location in Burtonsville, Md. - (Photo / )

It's been more than a generation since the Roy Rogers restaurant chain was at its peak.

But people still remember features like the "Fixin's Bar," where they could add what they wanted to their burgers, said Jim Plamondon. And even now the crowds often spill out the door when a new Roy's opens.

To Plamondon, that is evidence of the continued brand loyalty to the restaurant chain bearing the name of the famed horse-riding Western star.

Plamondon, of Frederick, Md., today is leading a resurgence of Roy Rogers, which had more than 600 locations before it was sold to another restaurant chain, Hardee’s, and began to dwindle in the 1990s. He co-owns the chain with his brother, Pete Plamondon Jr.

In the late 1980s, Roy's operated numerous restaurants in Central Pennsylvania, including 11 in the five-county midstate region and many more nearby, a spokesman for the chain said.

Today, said Plamondon, Roy's has 54 locations in six states, five of them in this state, all at rest stops along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

In August Plamondon will add a sixth Keystone State location in Matamoras, Pike County, and is actively looking at Central Pennsylvania for more new restaurants, he said. Two of the current turnpike locations, in Newburg and Plainfield, are in Cumberland County.

Jim Plamondon
Jim Plamondon - ()

While he has no franchise agreements signed, he has parties interested in operating restaurants in Harrisburg, Lancaster, York and other cities nearby, Plamondon told the Business Journal in a recent interview.

In 2016, Roy's opened six restaurants, five of them franchised and one corporate, and Plamondon wants to continue on a steady growth pace.

It's no accident that the mid-Atlantic region is home for the chain, which has locations in its home state of Maryland, plus Virginia, West Virginia, New York and New Jersey along with Pennsylvania.

"That's where the brand was very strong, and it still has this great brand equity to it. Here's a chain that once was 648 restaurants, and that didn't happen by accident," he said.

Plamondon said Roy Rogers aims to be a cut above typical burger-and-fries places.

"We get a lot of customers who say, 'I don’t eat at fast food, but I eat at Roy Rogers.' To me, that’s very interesting," Plamondon said.

Plamondon is a practicing attorney and former federal prosecutor. He and his brother, who used to be in commercial real estate, bought the Roy's trademark and franchise system in 2002.

Jim Plamondon said Roy's has 54 locations in six states. Pictured is a restaurant in Burtonsville, Md.
Jim Plamondon said Roy's has 54 locations in six states. Pictured is a restaurant in Burtonsville, Md. - ()

Their father, Pete Plamondon Sr., had helped oversee the Roy Rogers brand for the Marriott Corp., which opened the chain's first restaurant in 1968.

"Our dad believed so strongly in the original Roy Rogers brand that he left Marriott to become a Roy Rogers franchisee, and eventually purchased the chain himself," noted the website for Plamondon's firm, the Plamondon Cos.

As he guides the Roy's name back to prominence, Jim Plamondon admits there are challenges.

The biggest is "finding the people to operate our restaurants. It's a very tough labor market, not just at the management level, but also at the hourly-associate level. We typically employ younger people, often in high school or college and in their first job, and that labor pool has become hard."

At the same time, a number of upper- and mid-level managers for Roy's started as entry-level employees, and every one of Plamondon's district managers started as an hourly worker, he noted.

"We have a lot of longevity in our company. I like to think we treat our associates well, and they stay with us for a long period of time," he said.

More From This Industry

David O'Connor

David O'Connor

Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @DaveOC_CPBJ.

Leave a Comment

test

Please note: All comments will be reviewed and may take up to 24 hours to appear on the site.

Post Comment
View Comment Policy

Comments

Jim H June 28, 2017 3:55 am

Glad to see Roys coming to Pike County,PA, and hope it makes it to Harrisburg and Lancaster soon. The BEST burger anywhere! (those who do not like fast food can choose not to eat at such establishments, but have no right to prevent others from doing so)

Tom June 26, 2017 4:38 am

To Plamondon, that is evidence of the continued brand loyalty to the restaurant chain bearing the name of the famed horse-riding Western star@skype login

Rebecca Young June 21, 2017 8:11 am

I love those Roy Rogers restaurants. Despite the fact that it is fast food, these restaurants save you from hunger, when you have in your pockets a little money, and you are very hungry, because you were doing all those reviews for essaytyper.pro all the day!

Joe June 19, 2017 3:09 pm

I remember eating at Roy Rogers in the Capitol City Mall. I liked their double-R-bar burgers and of course the roast beef sandwich. Not long ago I took the turnpike to the Philly area and looked forward to stopping at a rest stop on the way home specifically for a double R burger (it's been over 15 years since I've have one).

On the way home I went into the rest stop and discovered I was too early, they were still serving breakfast....the time of day never entered my mind. After spending the past couple hours thinking about stopping at RR for 'lunch', I got back on the road extremely disappointed.

Thomas June 19, 2017 2:35 pm

A return of RR's better-quality food and more sensible portions would be terrific (instead of current fast-food's large portions of blech!). I hope their roast beef sandwiches are the same as they used to be: real roasts sliced paper thin, instead of the chemical-laden lunch meat you get at a certain current roast beef chain.

Alice Anne Schwab June 19, 2017 12:39 pm

My very first job was serving as a Hostess at Roy Rogers in Harrisburg, sporting cowgirl boots and full Western attire. So much fun and don't let anyone fool you... restaurant work is great training for life!

Dan June 19, 2017 11:36 am

No thanks. We don't need more fast food. We need healthier options. As far as I'm considered fast food can die!!!!

close