A&W Restaurants Hits Post-YUM! Era Milestone

Approaching anniversary of ownership change finds great American
brand back in growth mode

LEXINGTON, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#franchise–A&W Restaurants, Inc. will soon celebrate its five-year anniversary
under franchisee ownership. Since being acquired from YUM! Brands, A&W
has experienced non-stop, year-over-year same-store sales and profit
gains, as well as the opening of more than 40 new U.S. units, including
15 in gas and convenience stores.

A&W, America’s oldest restaurant chain, was owned by YUM! for nine
years. In late 2011, with sales suffering and the system losing units, a
core group of franchisees established A Great American Brand, LLC to buy
A&W. Kevin Bazner, A&W’s president prior to the YUM! acquisition,
returned as CEO.

“A&W’s future was very much in question,” Bazner recalled. “If not for
the franchise partners’ investment, hard work and passion, A&W would not
be where it is today.”

As the nearly 100-year-old chain looks to 2017, it is more than
surviving; it is thriving – even as many other restaurant brands report
sluggish sales. Since 2012:

  • System-wide sales and profits have grown every quarter, with
    same-store-sales up nearly 24 percent
  • 41 new U.S. restaurants have been opened, with 20 new ones planned for
  • Introduction of 23 new products and the development of versatile
    prototype and kitchen designs that can be adapted to a variety of
    settings, including gas and convenience stores.

There are currently more than 625 U.S. A&Ws. Approximately 375 are
co-branded with KFC or Long John Silver’s. The remaining are stand-alone
A&W units, including 87 gas and convenience store locations. A Great
American Brand also operates 310 A&W restaurants in eight countries. A&W
Canada locations are separately owned and operated.

“We acquired a troubled brand with a franchise community that was very
apathetic, having been neglected for many years,” Bazner said. “Our
initial goal was to grow profitable sales, one restaurant at a time, and
we’ve accomplished that.” With the brand stabilized, A&W is turning to
adding new locations, with a new franchise sales initiative launching in
early 2017. It will include a focus on gas and convenience stores.

“A&W has tremendous brand recognition. Everywhere I go people share
stories and memories,” he added. “That affection – combined with our
performance the last five years – is driving great interest among both
current and prospective franchisees.”

In 1919, Roy Allen set up a roadside drink stand in Lodi, California, to
introduce a new beverage at a parade honoring returning World War I
veterans. An instant success, Allen and partner Frank Wright named the
beverage A&W® Root Beer and started franchising roadside stands. A&W
Root Beer is still made fresh in the restaurants from real cane sugar,
water and a proprietary blend of herbs, bark, spices, and berries that
are served in a frosty mug along side burgers, fries, chicken tenders
and other All American Food® favorites. There are 1,100 locations

Connect with A&W online at http://www.awrestaurants.com/franchising


Ritter Communications
Brad Ritter, 866-284-2170