For more than 50 years, Roy Rogers Restaurants have been serving quick-service meals to customers throughout the East Coast, with help from a former Marriott executive and his family.
In the late 1960’s, the Marriott Corporation acquired a string of restaurant franchises—most of which were rebranded as Roy Rogers, named after the old-time Western movie star. It didn’t take long for Pete Plamondon, Sr., an executive vice president at Marriott, to want a larger role in growing the fast-food concept by opening his own franchise in Frederick, Md.
So in 1980, that’s exactly what he did. As one of the chain’s earliest franchisees, he established a growing chain of successful franchise locations, operated by his company, Plamondon Enterprises, Inc.
In the years following Plamondon’s success, Marriott sold the Roy Rogers company, and it was later purchased by Pete Sr.’s sons, Jim and Pete Jr., who have been rebuilding the brand ever since. Today, there are 48 Roy Rogers locations throughout the Mid Atlantic, including of 24 company-owned restaurants and 24 franchises. There are currently 21 operations based right here in Maryland.
“As a brand, we’re known for our hospitality. So our mission doesn’t say anything about the food we serve – it talks about values, the values you respect,” said Jim Plamondon, co-president of Roy Rogers Restaurants. “What makes Roy Rogers special…we’re a cut above a typical fast-food restaurant. We’re focused on quality, variety and choice.”
The Plamondons family history in the hospitality industry dates back to the 1940’s, when Pete Sr.’s father owned a hotel in Vero Beach, Fla. After Pete Sr. left his role at Marriott, he started the Plamondon Companies, consisting of Plamondon Enterprises, which operates the company-owned restaurants; the Roy Rogers Franchising Corporation, the franchisor of the restaurant concept; and Plamondon Hospitality Partners, which operates nearly a dozen hotels in Maryland and other eastern markets. Today, Pete Sr.’s sons, Jim and Pete Jr., successfully run the family business, including the catalog of restaurant locations and the rights to franchising. Pete Sr. is also still involved with the organization, providing guidance and insight to his sons, the company’s growing list of franchisees, and to employees at every level.
It’s clear the Plamondon Family can successfully run a business—Roy Rogers officially celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. Through family dedication, and developing and implementing marketing, training, and product development throughout the franchises, the company has grown in recent years with new locations and new senior leadership at the organization.
To celebrate the half-century milestone, Roy Rogers tapped a local legend famous for his record-breaking baseball streak. Cal Ripken, Jr. was prominently featured throughout the company’s 50th anniversary celebration campaign, including television and radio ads, and appearing on Roy Rogers’ gift cards. The company donated 10 percent of all gift card proceeds – a total of $50,000 – to the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, a non-profit that mentors at-risk youth by creating safe spaces to help build character and teach life skills and lessons. The partnership was a success and highlighted the two families’ beliefs in helping others, supporting education, and giving back to children in the community.
Now halfway through 2019, Roy Rogers is heating up and shows no signs of slowing down. Already this year, the company has named Performance Foodservice – Maryland as its primary food and supplies distributor, renovated and re-opened its Westminster community staple, and renewed a multi-year agreement with Coca-Cola. The company also announced additional expansions late last year, with plans to open new restaurants in Long Island, N.Y.
Learn more about the company and find the closest restaurant near you on royrogersrestaurants.com.