Time for a new look

A&W Restaurants unveiled a new look for our franchises at annual convention, using updated ‘hip nostalgia’ design to convey innovation to consumers

An artist’s rendering shows the exterior of an A&W restaurant with exterior patio seating and outlines of people walking around the restaurant.

One of the highlights at our annual convention this year, aside from the fabulous Hawaiian location, was the reveal of the upcoming design revamp for all A&W Restaurants.

Dubbed Gen19, the new design package is a modern makeover that will maintain the core character of A&W branding while keeping things fresh. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come:

With retro neon signage, updated seating and hip nostalgia pop art murals of our mouthwatering food, A&W Restaurants will feel at once familiar and new. We’re maintaining strong touches of our signature orange, complemented by earthy grays. The new interior design also creates more of an open feel without sacrificing seating.
An artist’s rendering shows the updated interior of an A&W restaurant, with orange plastic molded chairs, blonde wood tables, taller metal chairs at a communal table and orange pendant lighting.

Updates can boost traffic, affect productivity

Restaurant design encompasses everything from queueing patterns and kitchen efficiency to dining experience, so it’s important to get it right. A&W worked with Lexington, KY, design firm Cornett for our latest update.

Today’s fast-casual customers are more savvy, so getting it right is important, brand design expert Brenna Johnson wrote in a guest column for QSR magazine.

“Consumers are expecting your brand message to be sophisticated and complex,” she wrote. “Guests expect to see your brand delivered to them through everything they can taste, touch, see, hear, and smell.”

New investors who sign franchise agreements with A&W will automatically be using the upgraded design, and existing franchisees on a go-forward basis. It is our intention to bring renewed attention to the A&W’s brand with our updated design while still maintaining our intrinsic value to longtime fans.

“It’s a new element of customer engagement that relies on more than just the product they’re selling,” Johnson wrote in QSR. “It’s also now about building a captivating and relevant environment. An upgrade in interior design can improve the customer’s perception of the brand and increase a restaurant’s perceived value.”

Own a franchise with A&W Restaurants

Learn more about becoming a part of the A&W franchise family. Fill out the form on this page to start a conversation, or explore our research pages to learn more about the franchise opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!

The women of A&W

If you’re looking for good franchises for women, look no further. We have plenty of visionary franchisees who also happen to be female.

So much of franchising is dominated by men, you can understand why many women look for gender-specific franchises. But franchises for women don’t have to be businesses that cater to women only. All you need to succeed at A&W Restaurants is entrepreneurial drive, a strong work ethic and the business savvy to know a good deal when you see one.

That describes plenty of our female franchisees. We’d like to introduce you to a couple of them.

A&W franchisee Julie Glenz of Minnesota

Julie Glenz is a second-generation A&W franchisee who bought her first unit from her parents in 2013 and then converted it into a freestanding restaurant. Today, she and her husband own A&W restaurants in Albany and Richmond, MN, about 20 minutes apart. Glenz’ family crew — husband Jeremy and their sons, aged 5, 7, 9 and 11 — help out frequently. We spoke with Julie about her ownership experience.

ALT: Julie Glenz and husband Jeremy are pictured next to a statue of Rooty the Root Beer Bear in their restaurant. Their four little boys, all wearing orange A&W T-shirts, are standing in front.

What were you doing before becoming an A&W franchisee?
I was managing the family gas station and two Subways. I had worked there for forever, since I was a child, and I never had any other job. I decided I wanted to open up a burger restaurant. I initially looked at McDonald’s, but it was too expensive. So I shifted gears and that’s when I found A&W.

How did you learn about A&W? Do you have any nostalgic memories of A&W before joining the brand?
I learned about A&W a little later in life, however my husband has told me many stories about growing up and going to A&W after church on Sundays. It was his family’s special treat.

What’s the most satisfying thing about being an A&W franchise owner?
We have our own identity now, our own “thing,” not someone else’s. We know we are setting our children up for their future. Hopefully they will want to take over the business. They love being a part of it and want to eat all of the food!

Why A&W?
Everyone knew of A&W, but there weren’t that many around where we lived. We wanted something a little different. We always hear from our customers, “OMG, we are so excited to come here.” They love A&W.

What do you like most about A&W?
I’ve never felt afraid to ask a question; there’s nothing I can’t ask. I love the homey feeling of A&W. It is like a family.

A&W franchisee Dee Wells of Wisconsin

Dee Wells opened her first A&W franchise in Withee, WI, in 2016 and now owns a second unit in Spencer, WI. A combination of nostalgic childhood memory and her entrepreneurial vision led her to invest in A&W. It’s something she’d like to see more women consider.

What were you doing before becoming an A&W franchisee?
I owned a C&G location with a mini food court. I love the food business; I don’t know when to quit! I was raised in this little town. I graduated, got married and decided I wanted to spend money and invest here. When looking at restaurants, I knew I wanted something with a drive-thru but I didn’t want a Burger King or Hardee’s. I came in for Discovery Day, and the rest is history.

How did you learn about A&W?
My first job ever was in a Root Beer stand that used to be an A&W. I remembered when the stand was an A&W, and I always wanted to work there as a child. I was so intrigued that you had to stir the Root Beer with a paddle.

What’s the most satisfying thing about being an A&W franchise owner?
I love the flexibility of being a franchisee. I love when guests react to being served Root Beer in a frosted mug and they start talking about the “old days.”

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs looking into franchise investment?
You can do it with the help of the A&W team. At first it was scary, but after our project manager Todd walked us through the process, it was easy. It was so fun and definitely rewarding.

Learn more about our franchise opportunities

Franchises for women don’t have to be gyms or childcare. All we’re looking for are entrepreneurs who share our passion for people, good food and great times. If you’d like to explore the 100-year-old A&W brand, please look at our research pages. You can also request our free Franchise Information Report here. We look forward to hearing from you!