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About A&W Restaurants Inc.

A&W Restaurants is notable for being the first successful food franchise company. Today all operations are 100% franchise owned, many of which have been family owned and operated for over 20 years. There are over 1000 U.S. and international locations serving many happy customers each day. A&W Restaurants, Inc., America’s first restaurant chain to turn 100, is one of the country’s best-known and most beloved restaurants. Its original craft Root Beer, still handmade fresh in-house with real cane sugar, water and a proprietary blend of herbs, bark, spices and berries and served in a frosty mug, made its debut on June 20, 1919. A&W All American Food is served quickly at affordable prices.

What makes A&W Restaurants Different?

Four times a year, every employee at the A&W Restaurant Support Center has to tie on an apron, swap their dress shoes for something slip-resistant and pull a shift in one of our restaurants. We know that as a franchisee-owned brand, it’s vital for everyone in our organization to understand what it’s like to work day-to-day in an A&W.

Being owned by our franchisees means all our decisions are collaborative, channeled through the National A&W Franchisees Association (NAWFA) Board and in cooperation with our Executive Leadership Team. This partnership forms the backbone of our operations-focused organization.

A lot of franchisors talk about how important their franchisees are, establishing advisory councils and speaking to the necessity of letting their franchisees weigh in. At A&W, it’s not just lip service. Everyone on our corporate team earns bonuses based not on the success of the franchisor, but on profitable same-store sales growth of franchisees.

A&W embraces operations-focused culture

As a stakeholder in the franchisor, our franchise association is far more than an advisory panel. NAWFA is focused on cultivating a culture of operational excellence, which includes everything from maintaining high standards for food quality to making sure every member of our leadership team knows their way around a kitchen. Decisions aren’t based solely on top-line revenue that generates royalty streams, they’re based on bottom-line results at individual stores.

The switch to franchisee ownership in 2011 has driven strong results. A&W has experienced a nearly 33% surge in same-store sales on average since the change in ownership. We’ve maintained a relationship with our food and equipment supplier Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions (RSCS), which is key to helping our franchisees maximize their profit margins.

The strength of our restaurant supply co-op

With RSCS, we can reach every one of our A&W restaurant franchises in the country, no matter how out of the way they are, and maintain the consistency of our brand experience across the board. That’s because RSCS also serves some of the largest franchise brands in the nation, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

A supplier with such vast buying power gives A&W franchisees access to food, paper and equipment at very competitive prices.

Our restaurants span generations

Don Unruh bought into the A&W brand in 2016, and already he’s bringing his grown son Schuyler into the business. Dale Mulder, the former president of A&W, current Chairman of A&W Restaurants, Inc., and a franchisee since 1961, is now semi-retired but still acts as a mentor to the four of his five children who run his enterprise. Thanks to our brand’s longevity and corporate culture, it’s not unusual to see second- and third-generation ownership.

Whether through single locations or multi-unit ownership, A&W offers franchise buyers a chance to build a lasting legacy for their families as well as a chance to build equity and sell off the business at some point, depending on their business goals.

Great food and value drive sales

With any top restaurant franchise, it all starts with the food, and ours more than lives up to the memories longtime guests have with our century-strong brand. From the fresh Root Beer on tap to the juicy burgers on the grill to the Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders in the fryer, our food goes beyond the quality guests expect of fast food, while still maintaining the right price point.

Since our brand is owned by our franchisees, we know both the importance of driving sales and the importance of turning top-line sales into bottom-line profits. We deliver value to guests without sacrificing profitability for our franchisees by focusing on local store marketing rather than national programs. Deals attract guests while also driving sales of higher-margin side items like French Fries and Cheese Curds.

A&W marketing mixes old and new

Our modern marketing techniques leverage our nostalgic appeal in ways that attract every generation. We help our franchisees more directly reach the consumers in their area through targeted social media and other forms of digital marketing, and streaming video platforms like Hulu and YouTube allow us to place compelling video advertising at a fraction of the cost of traditional television.

Company Founded


Current Leadership

Kevin Bazner, CEO

Started Franchising

1925 (96 years)

Total Number of Units

936 (as of 2020)

Part-Time / Full-Time

Full Time

How Much Does It Cost To Open A A&W Restaurants Inc. Franchise?

There are several costs associated with opening a A&W Restaurants Inc. franchise. There is typically a franchise fee set by the franchisor, which covers the costs of opening a franchise location. Some other commons fees include equipment fees, marketing fees, licensing fees, insurance, and taxes, to name a few.

Some franchises may have a weekly fee that the franchisee pays for operating a A&W Restaurants Inc. franchise. The weekly fee for opening a A&W Restaurants Inc. franchise is not specified.

The full breakdown of these fees can be found in the Financial Disclosure Document (FDD) provided to franchisees by the franchisor. The FDD report will contain additional information such as whether the franchise is renewable (A&W Restaurants Inc. Is Renewable) and does the franchise offer financing support (A&W Restaurants Inc. A&W Restaurants Inc. has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll).

A&W Restaurants Inc. Company Details

Here are some additional details about A&W Restaurants Inc..

Initial Investment $15,000 - $30,000
Net Worth Requirement $350,000
Veteran Incentives 10% off franchise fee
Royalty Fee 5%
Ad Royalty 5%
Cash Requirement $150,000
Term of Agreement 20 years
Absentee Ownership No
Run from Home No
Part Time No

Training and Support Offered By A&W Restaurants Inc.

A&W Restaurants Inc. offers several support options to its franchisees. With 936 (as of 2020) units, A&W Restaurants Inc. aims to provide support to each franchise owner to help them operate a successful franchise location. A&W Restaurants Inc. offers 24-40 hours on the job training, 24-40 hours classroom training, and No additional training.

Training and Support Offered

Here are the support options offered by A&W Restaurants Inc..

On-The-Job Training 24-40 hours
Classroom Training 24-40 hours
Additional Training No
Ongoing Support
  • Purchasing Co-ops
  • Newsletter
  • Meetings & Conventions
  • Toll-Free Line
  • Grand Opening
  • Online Support
  • Security & Safety Procedures
  • Field Operations
  • Site Selection
  • Proprietary Software
  • Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
  • Co-op Advertising
  • Ad Templates
  • National Media
  • Regional Advertising
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Website Development
  • Email Marketing
  • Loyalty Program/App
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Is A&W Restaurants Inc. Right For You?

A&W Restaurants Inc. has gone digital! Here are all of the ways you can find A&W Restaurants Inc. online. Oftentimes, you can reach out to current franchisees of A&W Restaurants Inc. online. Current franchisees may be able to offer personalized insights into what it is like owning a A&W Restaurants Inc. franchise and offer tips to running a successful A&W Restaurants Inc. franchise location.


Why Should You Start a A&W Restaurants Inc. Franchise?

Investing in a Restaurant franchise such as A&W Restaurants Inc. can kickstart your franchise portfolio. Our goal at Why Franchise is to provide you with the resources needed to be a successful franchise owner. Fill out the form below to get more information about A&W Restaurants Inc. franchise and we'll be in touch soon!

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