Over the past decade, A&W’s sales at its 500-plus U.S. stores have surged and are up 67% since 2011. In 2020, A&W restaurants experienced a 9% increase in year-over-year sales across its system.
Franchisees collaborate with the Executive Leadership Team on all decisions, and everyone from the CEO down spends time working in their restaurants. Being owned by franchisees means that all decisions are collaborative, channeled through the National A&W Franchisees Association (NAWFA) Board and in cooperation with the Executive Leadership Team. This partnership forms the backbone of the A&W operations-focused organization.
A lot of franchisors talk about how important their franchisees are to the system, establishing advisory councils and speaking to the necessity of letting their franchisees weigh in.
This originator of quick-service restaurants has been focused on serving their local communities for over a century . The company continued that trend throughout the pandemic. In many small and rural towns, the local A&W was often one of the only dining options available with drive thru, carry out and curbside service that could safely serve guests. The brand can thank its drive-thru model for much of its success before and throughout 2020 when many dining rooms were closed across the country.
“The growth we’re seeing is not pandemic momentum; it’s A&W momentum,” said John Palumbo, A&W’s Senior Director of Franchise Development. “Our restaurants appeal to virtually every demographic in every generation, and as we grow our footprint, our sales have grown right along with it.”