Shortly after Rob Lynch took over as chief marketing officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. last September, he called for an agency review to replace Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the firm that won the chain’s account with no review under former CMO Russ Klein, who resigned last June.

Despite all that transition, Arby’s built considerable sales and traffic momentum with Crispin Porter’s last campaign for the brand in the fall of 2013, centered on the Smokehouse Brisket limited-time offer. Atlanta-based Arby’s, a subsidiary of private-equity firm Roark Capital Group, operates or franchises more than 3,400 restaurants worldwide.

Lynch, who came to Arby’s after a stint as vice president of marketing for Taco Bell, is optimistic for more success with even more product innovation after naming last week Minneapolis-based Fallon as Arby’s agency of record. He envisions a new branding strategy that celebrates Arby’s decades of leadership in roast beef and that establishes Arby’s as a destination for menu innovation beyond its signature offering in the future.

“That future looks like a commitment to product innovation to help our brand move in a direction where we still offer great roast beef but also a lot more to appeal to today’s QSR customers,” Lynch said. “Innovation is a big focus for me and the organization.”

Lynch spoke with Nation’s Restaurant News about how Arby’s aligned its new agency and franchisees with the menu innovation strategy and why “the best days are yet to come for Arby’s.”

What did it say to you about Arby’s when its most successful product in years, the Smokehouse Brisket sandwich, ran while the brand was searching for a new agency?

Well, the first day of our Smokehouse Brisket launch was my first day on the job. What a month to come into a new business. That product has set the gold standard and the target for all of us to aspire to in developing products that resonate with current customers and that could bring in new customers.

What that says about the brand is that we have an unbelievable amount of latent opportunity. We can be successful when we deliver products that inspire our customers. Customers that didn’t come into Arby’s regularly started coming in, and we saw a younger, more diverse group because they were intrigued and engaged by the story of Smokehouse Brisket. It was a story grounded in a great product and the fact that we smoke the brisket for 13 hours. People don’t expect that from a QSR.