Food News

Arby's Creates Vegetarian Support Hotline for Those Tempted by Brown Sugar Bacon

You probably work with one or may even be friends with one. Who knows? With the world the way it is, you might even be living under the same roof with one. We're talking, of course, about vegetarians. 

According to Raw Food World, about 5 percent of Americans are vegan or vegetarian. With 16 million veg heads living in the United States, what's a company that specializes in selling delicious roast beef sandwiches to do? Apparently, start a support group and hotline for those millions of confused souls who have good intentions of eating broccoli but might get swayed by the company's latest product launch of brown sugar bacon. 

Arby's vegetarian support line was launched yesterday, with an open letter to vegetarians:

We respect you. We respect your life decisions. With that in mind, we want it to be abundantly clear that this letter is not meant to sway or convert you. We're sharing this to offer our support.

Nearly a year ago, we embarked on a journey to tell America about our meats. By now, you've likely heard the Arby's tagline: We Have The Meats®. It's tough to hear, but it is what it is. We have many meats. And we have quality meats.

It is understandable that you disapprove of our meat-bravado. Your voices have been heard. Letters, emails, voicemails, Tweets and Facebook comments - we hear you. We love our meats, but realize they're not for everyone.

Then on Sunday, June 28, we launched a meat innovation that has likely tempted you: Brown Sugar Bacon. It's our pepper bacon, glazed in-restaurant with brown sugar and then cooked to perfection. It may be hard to resist…even for you. Hardcore vegetarians likely won't budge, but for those of you who are on the fringe or new to the game, avoidance can't be easy.

We, at Arby's, have created this temptation. So, we'd like to help.

We're giving you a number to call: 1-855-MEAT-HLP. This is a Vegetarian Support Hotline. When your nose betrays you and alerts the rest of your senses to find and devour this sweet meat, please call 1-855-MEAT-HLP. You will receive the support you need to resist this gateway meat and get tips on how to avoid temptation. Delicious. Sizzling. Temptation.

Be strong. We're here for you.



A call to that number (yup — it's a real number) gets you two options: If you're a vegetarian who's feeling tempted by brown sugar bacon and you can't stop thinking about that sweet meat, press one. If you're a vegetarian and have given in and eaten brown sugar bacon, press two.
By pressing one, a helpful female voice issues you encouragement in your search for food enlightenment. "You worked so hard for so long. We get it. Brown sugar bacon is hard to resist. But you can do this. Take a deep breath and go make a salad. You're welcome."

If, on the other hand, you've fallen off the veg wagon and given in to those pleasures of the flesh, a nonjudgmental voice reassures you that we're all, in fact, human. "We can't blame you. I mean, brown sugar... on bacon. Just enjoy it. We won't tell. If you do feel the need to confess, please do so after the beep."

Frankly, we can see many uses beyond the minor sin of bacon-eating for a phone-in confessional, and we like the fact that vegetarians are gently ribbed (pun intended) rather than truly pounded for their dietary choices. So far, not a peep from PETA on the hotline and website. Maybe they're too busy binge-eating brown sugar bacon.  After all, Anthony Bourdain has dubbed bacon the gateway meat for vegetarians

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss