Arby’s takes a bite out of NYC

Arby’s Restaurant Group, the fast food chain whose New York City presence includes just three Queens outposts, plans to open 41 new locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx in the next decade.

“I believe, even in this difficult economic environment, we will succeed and thrive,” said Raymond Chera, president of the newly-formed RCNY Restaurants, which will develop and operate the new Arby’s eateries. “We are aggressively seeking new, prime locations in high traffic/visibility areas to place our first Arby’s Restaurants.”

The aggressive expansion plans comes as some chains — including Starbucks, which just announced plans to shutter 11 New York City stores — are struggling.

Chera would not identify specific sites that Arby’s is interested in, but he said the first branches will likely be in Midtown Manhattan and in Downtown Brooklyn.

“New York City is very diverse, and different sites would suit Arby’s in different places,” Chera said. He added that “the boroughs have many opportunities to take advantage of a freestanding location with a drive-through.”

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The Chera family’s real estate firm, R.C. Chera Realty Group, does retail leasing for J.W. Mays and Rosewood Realty. It has leased spaces for Marshalls, Conway, Payless, Jimmy Jazz, T-Mobile and Footlocker.

Founded in Ohio in 1964, Arby’s has 26 restaurants in the New York metro area, with only three in New York City, all in Queens. Worldwide, it has 3,700 restaurants, including 1,100 in the United States. More than half of its stores are franchises.

Triarc Companies, the Atlanta-based parent company of Arby’s Restaurant Group, is in the process of buying the fast food restaurant brand Wendy’s International, the parent company of Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers. Together the two companies would have about 10,000 restaurants with annual sales of around $12.5 billion, making it one of the largest U.S. fast food companies.

Chera’s brother, Ralph, is vice president of RCNY Restaurants and their father, Charles, is chairman and CEO. The family’s real estate company, R.C. Chera Realty Group, will be scouting out locations for the franchises.