We’ve been around longer than every other hamburger franchise opportunity, and it all started during a parade to honor WWI veterans returning home

Disabled American Veterans this year will receive $100,000 thanks to our annual nationwide fundraiser. In fact, every year on Aug. 6, A&W celebrates National Root Beer Float Day in our 625+ restaurants nationwide by raising money for veteran-related charities.

It’s a win for the men and women who dedicated their time and service to our country, who will benefit from funds raised for charities devoted to helping improve their lives. It’s a win for our guests, who enjoy a delicious A&W Root Beer Float for free on Aug. 6. And it’s a win for our franchisees, who see greater traffic in their stores and increased sales – it’s one of our busiest days of the year – as a result of the promotional awareness around our fundraising campaign. This day is really about celebrating Root Beer Floats and asking our guests to pay it forward.

A&W goes back a long way with veteran appreciation – 98 years, to be precise. We trace our humble beginnings to Roy Allen’s Root Beer stand in Lodi, CA, where he served his very first Root Beer during a parade for veterans returning home from WWI. We experienced a huge influx of growth in the 1950s thanks to the prevalence of GI loans, which allowed veterans to more easily invest in their own A&W franchises.

A glass mug with the A&W logo and the words “All American Food” is being filled with Root Beer as foam collects in the top and the Root Beer is splashing upward out of the mug.

The famous Root Beer that started it all is still made fresh every day and served on draft at all of our U.S. restaurants, making us a unique hamburger franchise opportunity.

Our franchise gives back

Our decision to raise money for veterans is purposeful. We are indebted to the communities we’re located in, many of them small towns with scattered populations where they celebrate patriotism and appreciate brands like ours that are willing to do business where many brands won’t go. A national recognition of the classic Root Beer Float seemed like a perfect way for us to give back to both customers and veterans.

“We’ve raised more than $650,000 over the last five years for veteran-related charities,” says Kevin Bazner, President & CEO. “And that’s very important to our operators in these smaller towns and rural areas, where Fourth of July parades are still a really big deal. One of the reasons we continue to raise money for veterans is because of our long history as a brand with veterans. Our founder, Roy Allen, had a Root Beer stand at a parade welcoming World War I vets back from the war.”

In the 1950s and ’60s, a lot of our franchisees were veterans who took out low-interest loans from the federal government to buy an A&W franchise.

“We have a long history with veterans, and we embrace that,” Bazner says.

We’re about more than burgers. That’s why we’re growing

We have been very purposeful about our decisions since our franchisees took ownership of the company in 2011. Throughout our company’s long history, we’ve never wavered about the quality of our food, our love of community and our sense of duty to give back to those who serve us. We genuinely love our guests and want to support the causes that are important to them. We have a genuine appreciation for the service members who sacrifice their lives for our country, too, which is why we’ve devoted our fundraising efforts to veterans causes.

We support our franchisees

We have very smart systems in place to help franchisees keep operational costs down and increase their profitability. Because franchisees have a say in every decision through their representatives on the National A&W Franchise Association board, every decision is viewed through the prism of its effects on franchisees.

It’s a strategy that is paying off. With a commitment to quality and a willingness to embrace, and be embraced by, the communities we serve, our brand has seen an exciting resurgence in the past several years. Between 2011 and 2016, we’ve seen an almost 30% increase in sales on average. We anticipate adding 20 units in the U.S. and 40 more overseas in 2017. Our plan is to continue cultivating this growth so that we can become one of the most profitable fast food franchises in business.

Learn more

A&W is an affordable burger franchise compared to many of the larger brands, and we still have many prime territories available. You can discover more about our franchise offering by exploring our research pages. You can also fill out the short form on this page to request more detailed information. We look forward to hearing from you!