Article delves into why A&W Restaurants are especially compelling in small towns, and the quality and tradition that sets the brand apart.

CEO Kevin Bazner is sitting in a booth holding a burger, while the table top in front of him holds a Root Beer Float in an A&W-branded mug, a hot dog, chicken tenders, fries, onion rings and another burger.

CEO Kevin Bazner was featured recently in an article in QSR, explaining how A&W Restaurants is surging forward after a year of resetting, continuing along a path of intentional growth that is designed to make sure franchisees reap the benefits. One part of that strategy is celebrating our sweet spot as a small town franchise, a tactic that works because of big-brand advantages like our supply chain vendor, the largest purchasing cooperative in the quick-service restaurant industry, that provides A&W franchisees lower costs and broader reach because it also serves three of the biggest franchise chains in the nation: Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell.

“We can take our time,” Bazner tells QSR. “And frankly we have to. That’s how our system works since every initiative touches a restaurant.”

QSR’s article noted, “Beyond the costs, however, A&W discovered that it simply works better in smaller DMAs. ‘Those are our roots,’ Bazner says. ‘We can get in those locations and do (significant sales),’ he adds. ‘That’s a very nice economic model.’”

A return to our quality roots

QSR noted the positive changes that have taken place since 2011, when a partnership of domestic and international franchisees purchased the brand and hired Bazner as CEO in an effort to return to the practices that turned A&W into the iconic brand beloved by so many for 100 years. Here’s an excerpt from the QSR piece:franchisees purchased the brand and hired Bazner as CEO in an effort to return to the practices that turned A&W into the iconic brand beloved by so many for 100 years. Here’s an excerpt from the QSR piece:

For A&W, it comes down to the cues, and that’s something that was getting blurry before new ownership jumped in. Something as simple as making the root beer in-house. A&W returned the core practice to stores systemwide and is in the process of rolling out a draft arm, “just like it used to be,” Bazner says.

In addition to reigniting past feelings, these changes also project quality, Bazner says. It’s where A&W plays in quick service, since it’s not designed to battle aggressively on price. “That has been our value proposition from day one, and we can’t compete in the dollar menu arena,” Bazner says. “We don’t have the share or voice to drive traffic there. We do that locally, but broadly it’s the quality initiative. We stand on our product.” Returning to the franchisee-focused leadership model, there are restaurants in A&W’s system run by third-generation operators…

“They have pride in being able to present and communicate to their customer they’re making [the root beer] fresh in store,” Bazner says.

The small-town franchise you’ve been looking for

Learn more about owning an A&W franchise. Fill out the form on this page to start a conversation, or explore our research pages to learn more about the A&W restaurant franchise opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!