We’re a different kind of better burger franchise. Long before the 21st century burger players, there was A&W.

An orange soft-bound book has an illustration of an A&W Root Beer stand atop the words, “It all started with a tiny roadside stand.”

When A&W opened its first Root Beer stand in 1919, there was no burger industry. No McDonald’s. No Five Guys. Just ice cold, hand-crafted Root Beer. Over the last century we added some craveable treats and sweets and upgraded our business model pretty significantly, with a unique ownership structure that truly puts decision-making into the hands of the franchisee. 

Today, our brand of hip nostalgia is what sets us apart from the typical better burger franchise. We stand on the brand pillar of quality food because that’s not only what the customer wants, it’s what the customer demands. And we know how to execute efficiently, thanks to input from our franchisees.

A new ownership group took command of A&W Restaurants in 2011, and we stabilized the franchise and then re-engaged the franchise community, helping to shape what is A&W Restaurants in 2021: a better burger franchise like no other, a franchise that works in big towns and out-of-the-way communities, a secret-weapon supply chain vendor and a sales record that reflects our hard work and shared values.

Here’s our why

A&W veterans will tell you: You can’t go anywhere in a shirt with our logo on it without people sharing their A&W stories.

“A&W is a good choice for investors because everybody knows the brand,” says President & COO Paul Martino. “You can’t walk into an airport without people telling you a story about the brand. ‘My grandmother brought me to A&W when I was young;’ ‘I loved that frosted mug of Root Beer.’ Everybody has a connection. It’s a brand everybody knows and everybody has a story about.”

When a group of franchisees purchased the brand back from YUM! brands in 2011, there were decisions to be made: Would we be more like McDonald’s or Five Guys? Did we want to be fast food or casual dining? Ultimately, we decided on somewhere in the middle.

That meant quality food. We already had the best Root Beer in the world. How could we raise the level of all our other food? How could we have the best burger on the market? We have strategic partnerships with some of the best in the business, like our supply chain vendor, Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions. RSCS services the largest restaurant company in the world, supplying Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC. It’s a huge advantage that gives the A&W franchise a much more extensive reach and helps us keep purchasing costs in check — and offer a very competitive price point to our guests.

Our commitment to quality and our ability to maintain control over pricing and distribution allow us to compete in ways that the other guys can’t. As a better burger concept with a drive-thru, in many of our locations, we not only survived the pandemic that gutted many in the restaurant industry — we thrived. Back-to-back months of double-digit sales growth last summer extended all the way through the final months of the year.

“We experienced one of the best same-store sales increases in the brand’s history,” says Dave Crowley, Director of Franchise Recruitment. “That drive-thru capability is one of the reasons why sales did what they did in 2020.”

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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