Tasting Success With Roy Rogers

December 30, 2013

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Roy RogersEach year Pete and Kathy Hubschmitt send me a beautiful calendar for the next year.  It features wonderful photos of birds and animals that Pete has personally taken.  He has spent his career in our hotels, retiring as an area vice president several years ago.  I think he may be one of the best wildlife photographers in the whole country!

This November he enclosed a picture of Roy Rogers – the movie star cowboy standing in front of a Marriott airport van at our Key Bridge Marriott Hotel.  It was a postcard size photo entitled “Roy Rogers in town for Hot Shoppe Jr. Conversion to Roy Rogers publicity.”  Boy, did this bring back memories.  The bottom of the card said, “the Double-R Bar Burger rivaled the Mighty Mo.”  I hadn’t thought about the Double-R Bar Burger for a long time.

Roy Rogers

In the 1960s, we were expanding Marriott hotels but also rapidly growing our restaurant business.  After all, our Hot Shoppes full-service restaurants were our major business which expanded from our 1927 A&W Root Beer stand. In the early 60s, we were being surrounded by McDonald’s fast food restaurants with lower prices and faster service. To combat them, we opened Hot Shoppes Jr. – our own version of fast food. It got off to a great start so we began to build a portfolio of fast food concepts. We bought Gino’s, a small fast food chain named for the famous Baltimore Colts football player, Gino Marchetti. Later we acquired Robees Roast Beef chain, a group of fast food places featuring Robees roast beef sandwiches. But we did not have a nationally recognized name for these fast food units that would allow us to roll them out across the country. 

Bob Wain, the founder of Bob’s Big Boy restaurants which we acquired in 1968, was on our board of directors and suggested we contact Roy Rogers as he had a national reputation & he might rent us his name.  So we did and renamed Robees & Gino’s to Roy Rogers roast beef restaurants featuring great freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches and a double decker Double-R Bar Burger.  Overnight, Roy’s was a big success.  As time went on, we converted all our Jr. Hot Shoppes restaurants to Roy’s and eventually sold the Roy’s chain to another restaurant company. 

Back in the 70s, Wall Street was really excited about companies that took the conglomerate approach and we were in as many different businesses as possible. We gave into the direction of Wall Street and at one time, we were in the restaurant, theme park, cruise ship, food service management and hotel business with 15 different brands.

It took us 30 years to whittle them down to hotels, but in hotels, we have 19 brands.  So, we are in one business today with many brands instead of 15 different businesses & different brands.

Thank you for allowing me to take you on a trip down memory lane. I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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Hello Mr. Marriott,
I remember flying in the 1970's and 80's and seeing the Marriott Catering trucks pulling up to the Delta flights. GREAT food then and now!
Respectfully Yours,
John Monks
Night Auditor
Fairfield Inn and Suites Orlando at SeaWorld

Thanks for the memories. When my daughters were younger we loved stopping at Roy Rogers and Bob's when on family vacations. Still have the Bob's Big Boy dolls and memories of visiting the Roy Rogers museum when out by the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Would love a calendar with those classic pictures.

This brings back memories for me. When I was in high school I was on the opening team for the Roy Rogers restaurant in Middletown, NJ. It was my first real job, and I had no idea until years later that the chain was owned by Marriott.

Brian Bloom

Mr. Marriott, I have worked for the Company for 23 Years and I love to read your blog and hear about the early days of "Marriott" our customers love your stories too. Keep up the great blogs!
Laurie McFeeters

Mr. Marriott, thanks for the memories. I grew up with Hot Shoppe and Hot Shoppe Jr was my favorite. We loved Roy Roger's too. There is a Roy rogers in Burtonsville, Md that is serving up the Double R Bar Burger and it still tastes the same. What a great tribute to you and your family.

Roy's was always a step or two above the other fast food joints. The burgers were bigger and better. The fries were better. The fixin's bar was one of the smartest things offered. You could put on as little or as much of whatever you wanted. No surprises from the kitchen.
If memory serves me correctly, the Double R was not a two stack burger, it was a cheeseburger with sliced ham-and it was awesome!
I wish they hadn't closed so many of them in the Northern Virginia area.

Wow, that is a trip down memory lane. I have not even thought of Gino's since childhood and had no idea it was named for Gino Marchetti. What i do recall was being with my Mom and Grandmom stopping for lunch after they were (dragging me around at 8 years old) shopping. Gino's had a "special sauce" for thier burgers. Probably a more tangy version of russian dressing. Anyway, it was great. As for Roy's, loved the Double R burger. Best part was being able to go the fixin's bar and make it the way i liked it. Thank you for the great memory, i can alomost taste one of those great burgers.

Joe Stern

Oh My Mr. Marriott.

I have such fond memories of getting a "branded" roastbeef sandwich from the Roy Rogers restauant when I was a child. My family didn't have a lot of money so it was a special treat when we got to go out to eat and most of the time we were either at Roy Rogers or A & W. How ironic is it that 40 years later I ended up working in your WONDERFUL company. I had no idea until I started working here how many wonderful childhood memories I had because of Marriott and now I get to help our guest's children make memories of their own.

Thank you for building such a wonderful company which takes such good care of thier associates!!

Thank You for taking me on a trip down memory lane I believe I ate at roy's gino's Hot shoppes Bob's big boy in philly growing up. That was a great read

What a great retrospective on our company's rich culinary history. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Marriott!

The more I learn about this company the more I am amazed. One of my fondest childhood memories was our family trips to Roy Rogers Restaurants. We went to the local Roy Rogers after the little league games where my father coached our team. Dad always ordered the roast beef while I opted for the Double R Bar. Until reading this blog I had no idea of the Marriott involvement in a restaurant chain that was such a big part of my youth.

Thank you Mr. Marriott for rekindling some fond memories through your writings.

I had the great pleasure of working for Pete as a district manager of Big Boy Restaurants in the
E mid 80's after serving as Hot Shoppes GM at # 32, #68 & #16 next door to a great Roy Rogers before joining the hotel division in several positions including opening FB at the first JW Marriott on Pa Ave.

I am very proud of my days with Marriott in many of the divisions and later as a hotel franchisee w my partner Colin Nadeau.

Thanks to people like Pete who provided growth opportunities to individuals to move ahead I will always have great respect and good memories of my 23 years as an employee and 16 years as a franchisee.

Best wishes to you and your family and company for a successful 2014

Happy New Year, Mr. Marriott! Love the stories. I never had the opportunity to eat at either a Hot Shoppe or Roy Rodgers restaurant, but being from Southern California, Bob's Big Boy was one of our favorites for years.

I recall working at the Anaheim Marriott in the 1980's, and the Hotel honored Roy Roger's - with the Roy Rogers Suite. It was quite the Suite, with pictures and Western memorabiia ... Right next to the Gene Autry Suite - a famous name in Anaheim at the time, - then owner of the California Angels.

Mr. Marriott Rocks! So does that Anaheim Marriott!