The classic American restaurant brand has displayed continued growth in 2021 thanks to a proven and comprehensive investment strategy for franchisees.
Lexington, KY (RestaurantNews.com) A&W Restaurants, the 500-plus unit classic American restaurant franchise, has been recognized by QSR Magazine as one of the country’s top 17 deals in restaurant franchising. QSR cites the brand’s franchise board, outstanding accommodations for franchisees and a collaborative marketing team in its September rankings.
“This level of recognition would not be possible without our franchisees,” said Kevin Bazner, A&W’s CEO. “We’ve been able to maintain the values QSR highlighted through a long-standing model, and it’s all thanks to a group of business owners that believe in our setup and believe in the ongoing values of the A&W brand.”
QSR’s ranking points out that A&W is 100% owned by franchisees, and a board of franchisees oversee operations and corporate decision-making. This has shown consumers and prospective owners that A&W has no intentions to sell its brand to a larger entity. Under this board, franchisees are not placed under corporate pressure to satisfy quarterly projections.
John Palumbo, A&W’s senior director of franchise development, said the brand’s franchisee board has helped create cohesiveness within the A&W system that is often unrivaled in the franchising space. “Any business can say that they listen to the needs of franchise owners, but we truly make a space for their voices to be heard,” he said.
QSR adds that A&W thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Comp sales, which increased for the ninth straight year in 2020, are up more than 50% at the midway point of 2021,” the article said.
An A&W franchise investment includes equipment, a franchising fee, training, opening costs, inventory and three months of additional funding. “We find it important to give franchisees a comprehensive advantage as soon as they decide to invest in our brand,” Bazner said. “While this is something just recently promoted by QSR, we truly feel these values have been instilled and fulfilled for many years.”
After more than 100 years in business, the brand’s enduring appeal continues to drive expansion. A&W has shown continued growth in 2021 with 14 new restaurant commitments. This has been made possible through an adaptive business model, something the brand saw plenty of benefits from in 2020: A&W experienced a 14% increase in average unit volume last year at standalone drive-thru locations and has continued to develop those units in wake of a changing consumer landscape.
“We are thrilled to receive QSR’s nomination, and our mission is to continue passing on those franchising qualities to each of our franchisees,” Bazner said. “It’s important for franchise owners to feel taken care of long after their initial investments. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve a proven system so we can keep making that happen.”
Established in 1919 in Lodi, California as a roadside stand, A&W Restaurants now stands as a thriving part of the American experience. With 500-plus locations across the country, including 300 standalone restaurants, the brand remains a one-of-a-kind true original. Even its signature A&W Root Beer, served in an iconic frosty mug, is handcrafted at the restaurant. Today, that traditional approach is resonating strongly with consumers, who are looking for authentic brands. For more information, visit https://franchising.awrestaurants.com.