Last month, when Arby’s announced it would be testing a new, 100 percent deer meat sandwich at select locations around the country, we’ll admit we were a bit skeptical. Though venison isn’t exactly unheard of in the U.S., the prospect of chowing down on some fast-food deer steaks didn’t sound too appealing, either. But judging from the test-market turnout for the item last week, it appears Arby’s know its target audience better than we thought.
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the roast beef king can’t keep those venison sandwiches in stock. A location in Nashville, Tennessee sold out of the items shortly after lunch last week, and in Atlanta the sandwiches were gone within just 90 minutes on Friday. Still, in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park, the venison was gone in under 15 minutes, and similar occurrences have been taking place at other restaurants included in the 17-market test run.
“We were very confident that hunters and even non-hunters would love this sandwich,” Luke DeRouen, a spokesperson for Arby’s, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “But it’s safe to say that the response has exceeded our lofty expectations.”
While states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were all chosen to participate in the test run because of their strong hunting population, selling out of the sandwiches in 15 minutes is a huge victory for the company. According to DeRouen, each Arby’s location was supposed to have enough venison sandwiches to last three days.
As NRN notes, the item was widely mocked online after the announcement from Arby’s last month. In addition to deer meat, the item also features crispy onions, berry sauce, and a toasted roll. Still, one food blogger for the Minneapolis StarTribune called the dish a “viral food novelty” while speculating the item might be better suited for the Minnesota State Fair.
After last week’s success, maybe Arby’s deer meat sandwiches will be making its way to East Coast whether we like it or not.