Arby’s will feature drive-through service |

Arby’s will feature drive-through service

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Daryl Reedy surveys the large amount of work Monday to convert the old Burger King restaurant into an Arby's, scheduled to open May 15.

Come mid-May, South Lake Tahoe residents and visitors won’t have to go far for the beef.

Daryl Reedy of Carson City plans to open with his wife Julie his third Arby’s restaurant, at the former site of a Burger King on Lake Tahoe Boulevard. That fast food eatery closed in October after being 20 years in business. Bob Millinich, a Burger King franchisee from Carson City, walked away from the lease to avoid the expense of necessary upgrades.

Reedy has roots on the South Shore. He once operated the 89th Street Bar and Grill on Emerald Bay Road across from the 7-Eleven when he lived here in the mid-1990s. He now owns an Arby’s franchise in Carson City and another in Gardnerville. He’ll replace the latter with one in Minden.

“I get a fair percentage of customers from the lake,” he said Monday. “They always ask me when I’m coming to the lake.”

Reedy claims some orders involve multiple sandwiches that some customers have told him “they take home to freeze.”

He intends to carry the standard Arby’s line of meals, sides and beverages and include the optional breakfast. New to the chain is a natural line of chicken to complement its “market-fresh” sandwiches, wraps and salads. Sandwiches will cost between $1.50 and $5.

“Arby’s is way more than what people know,” he said.

Arby’s has more than 3,600 locations nationwide, with the first one launched in Boardman, Ohio, in 1964. Arby’s stands for RBs – the initials of the founding Raffel Brothers.

Reedy’s real estate agent Larry Finkel said four potential suitors for the site were interested in the drive-through. In-N-Out Burger was rumored to have interest, but a marketing representative alluded to the space being too small.

When Burger King closed, the next leaseholder had a one-year grandfather clause window to take over the building before a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency-imposed moratorium on drive-throughs would take effect. The prohibition is designed to reduce air pollution from idling vehicles.

Reedy was attracted to the national recognition he gets from running a chain.

Arby’s sets a $37,500 franchise fee for the first restaurant and $25,000 for each additional unit. Franchisees pay royalties of 4 percent of gross sales, along with 1.2 percent of gross for an advertising marketing service and 3 percent for local promotion.

Reedy and Finkel declined to say the lease rate negotiated Friday with owner William Fries of the Bay Area.

“He’ll pay a premium with the drive-through. But it’s excellent for the market because it’s a great change of pace and something we haven’t had before,” Finkel said Tuesday.

Still, there’s a lot of work to be done to open by May 15. Reedy plans to rewire the lighting and electrical work, install seating and new equipment, take down one wall, move the fryer, repair the ceiling, repaint and replace the floor. He also must install on the property the required “best management practices,” TRPA-mandated environmental controls. Reedy, who needs a building permit from the city, estimated the remodeling job will cost him at least $300,000. He’ll start work by next week.

As for the exterior, Reedy will have to forego corporate’s standard bright red sign and find a brownish red to accommodate further TRPA mandates.

“He’ll do well here. There are (few) fast food places (with a drive-through),” Tammy Beckwith said, while looking over the grounds Monday.

The Taco Bell management had no comment on the nearby competition.

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