A&W ownership works for franchisees because we’re owned by franchisees

Exterior of an A&W restaurant, including signage that reads, “A&W | All American Food”

A brand guided by its franchisees is one that focuses on long-term profitability, recurring cash floor and strong unit-level economics. We have our eyes on the future, not the short-term collection of royalty fees to help us flip the brand with the next private equity firm dangling a check.

In other words, we have no exit strategy, and we’re very proud of that.

Franchisee involvement

Kevin Klein, our current NAWFA Chairman who owns the franchise in Birch Run, MI, wrote last May that “Critical communications and feedback between team members continue to take high priority. And I don’t know of any CEO who hosted national webinars three times a week with franchisees, as Kevin Bazner did.

“Together, we addressed evolving issues, such as restaurant cash flow and royalties, new local store marketing family bundles, delivery options, and personal protection equipment acquisition. As a result, more than 90% of A&W restaurants operated through the crisis, and sales are returning to pre-virus levels.”

We keep it real

A&W is owned by a group of national and international franchisees and NAWFA, our franchisee advisory council. The National A&W Franchise Association board, comprised of franchisees from across the country, from single-unit owners to multi-unit investors, was critical in restructuring our business model when we bought the franchise from YUM! Brands in 2011.

Our leadership team is invested in every aspect of the A&W brand, and NAWFA helps keep everyone on track by making decisions from the perspective of the people who are on the front lines, so to speak, of the day-to-day operations. Even our corporate employees understand how everything works: Everyone at the Restaurant Support Center puts on an apron and works a shift in an A&W restaurant.

It keeps us grounded and very focused on what our franchise owners actually face day to day. That makes a difference when it comes to decision-making. And on the flip side, franchisees who develop close relationships with leadership can make meaningful contributions to the business.

Consider our Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders. That recipe came from franchisee Linda Mulder, who impressed customers and won over franchisees, thanks to more manageable prep and lower food costs. They were a big improvement over our old chicken tenders, became a best-selling menu item and ultimately led to higher AUVs.

Other franchisors talk about how their franchisees have a voice in decision making. Our franchisees are actually making the decisions.

A&W is America’s first and oldest restaurant chain, A&W still makes Root Beer fresh in each restaurant from real cane sugar, water and a proprietary blend of herbs, bark, spices and berries that are served in a frosty mug alongside burgers, fries, chicken tenders and other All American Food® favorites. There are nearly 1,000 locations worldwide.

Learn more

You can discover more about our franchise offering by filling out the form on this page. You can also continue to explore our research pages to learn more about A&W franchise, America’s first and oldest restaurant chain.

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