Following the success of their first A&W C-store in Ohio, Par Mar Oil just opened a second location — and more may be in the works
Jason Kupfner, Director of Retail Operations for Par Mar Oil, didn’t have any questions about what restaurant to pair with Par Mar’s convenience store operation in West Virginia. After their success with the A&W franchise in one of their Zanesville, Ohio, convenience stores, they were eager to try again. They just opened an A&W store in Pleasant Valley, West Virginia, in August. In this A&W franchise review, Kupfner talks about why the 113-store convenience and gas company likes partnering with A&W.
What made you decide to open an A&W next to or in your convenience store?
We had acquired an A&W C-store in Zanesville, Ohio, back in 2013, and it’s been very successful store for us. A&W was at the top of our list when we started looking in 2016 to add a restaurant to our Pleasant Valley, West Virginia, store. It’s taken us a while to get it up and running, but we’re excited to see how our new restaurant performs.
What appealed to you most about the A&W brand vs. another brand?
It’s a brand that’s been around for 100 years – you can’t do any better than that. It’s a brand that people recognize. Growing up, I remember going to A&W, and my mom even kept a baby mug in the kitchen that she’d gotten as a kid.
How did A&W’s corporate team guide you through the opening process?
The opening process was very structured. The weekly calls were very helpful. We had a plan, and the A&W team kept us on task. Your team had confidence in us and we made a good team together. The training staff that came to our restaurant were awesome, and they stayed with us for two weeks.
How much contact have you had with the corporate office since opening? Can you describe the ongoing support they’ve provided?
Our Franchise Growth Leader, Randy, has been our boots on the ground and he’s been very helpful. We’ve been in touch with people at the office. We feel very supported by the team.
How does A&W help with your C-store profitability?
We spent just under $300,000 for the restaurant conversion in Pleasant Valley; we did the build-out in a former Fazoli’s. A&W brings additional foot traffic into our stores. We estimate it will add significant revenue to our existing operation.
Are you planning to add more A&W franchises?
We are looking at another couple of sites. We are growing rapidly, and we will continue to consider A&W as we expand.
Would you recommend A&W to another C-store operator, and if so, why?
Yes, because working with A&W is not like working with any other QSR chains. Other brands have no flexibility. We like working with the A&W brand because they understand our partnership is give and take, they don’t just say “no.” They’re open-minded, and the team is always willing to share best practices.
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