They served our country, and now they’re serving customers at A&W restaurants

A picture of an American flag next to the words "Thank you, veterans."

Topher Lee served for seven years in the U.S. Army Special Forces, and was injured twice during his time in Panama. Today, Lee and his business partner run the A&W in Glenwood, MN, with Lee focusing on training and developing leadership teams, thanks in part to the skill set he learned in the military. We’d like to be considered among the best fast food franchises for veterans, and in advance of Veterans Day Nov. 11, we spoke to some of the veterans who now work in the A&W franchise system.

Lee has lived with back pain and permanent nerve damage in his arm for 25 years, but thanks in part to an assist from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, he was able to make a transition back into civilian life and open his own consulting business, which he still runs today.

“In the military, I learned discipline, teamwork, partnership and training skills,” Lee says. “I apply those skills every day in the civilian world.”

Rick Lauder worked in a drug detox facility for the U.S. Army and as general medical personnel in the Vietnam War for 21 months — an admirable task. For the past 22 years, he and his wife have been owners and operators of the Boomville, MO, A&W.

“Being in the military,” he says, “made me grow up and realize what life was about. Looking back on it, I’m glad I went because it taught me how to be an adult.”

Ken King, Marketing Director for Happy Day Restaurants, also served in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy from 1964-67, working at the main supply depot in Saigon and later running the storeroom on board a ship.

“Since I grew up in the military, transitioning into civilian life wasn’t much of an adjustment for me,” says King. “I am a very loyal patriot and love my country.” He currently handles marketing for seven different brands, a job he says is “very challenging, but fun,” he says.

Why we love veterans

Since the beginning in 1919, A&W has embraced military veterans and given them an opportunity to use their skill sets on a civilian level and build successful businesses. We’ve raised more than $650,000 in donations for veteran-related charities since 2013, including $100,000 donated to the DAV in 2017. Supporting our nation’s veterans is a cause we passionately believe in.

In addition to the many franchise owners in our company who served in the military, many employees are also veterans.

Learn more about one of the best fast food franchises around

We have some great franchising opportunities for veterans and civilians alike. Just fill out the short, no-obligation form on this page to start a conversation. You can also learn more about our brand by exploring our research pages.