A&W Restaurant franchises benefit from our consistent leadership. Most of our top positions haven’t changed since 2011 when our new ownership took over.

Another day, another email in your inbox announcing a new CEO at this restaurant or that franchise. That’s often followed quickly by a turnover of other high-ranking executives. The end result is often internal turmoil and franchisee dissatisfaction, especially since these turnovers tend to happen at the end of a disappointing quarter or year.

That’s not the case at A&W Restaurants. In 2011, a group of franchisees bought out the brand, and we still have the same leaders today: Chairman Dale Mulder, CEO Kevin Bazner, President & COO Paul Martino, VP of Restaurant Support Services Bill Fry and VP of Marketing Sarah Mueller.

Their success as a collaborative leadership team is evident in our sales increases. Since the 2011 change in ownership, our franchise has averaged a nearly 33% increase in sales. Our commitment to including franchisees in all of our decision-making is also evident.

“To operate a company such as A&W Restaurants you certainly have to leave your ego at the front door,” says Bazner. “If you’re going to be collaborative, which we have to be, you’ve got to be open to other people’s ideas.”

Two people's hands toasting with A&W Root Beer Mugs

A different kind of restaurant franchise

Like most franchises, A&W has a board of franchisee representatives whose job it is to bridge the divide between leadership and A&W restaurant owners. But in our case, NAWFA — the National A&W Franchisees Association — is more than just an advisory board. A&W and NAWFA collaborate on every important decision made. There is true representation here, and that’s not always the case with franchises.

More often than not, franchisee advisory councils are just that — advisory. But at A&W, we want everyone’s values aligned. Part of the reason we have such a strong and stable leadership team is because we make sure we understand the point of view of the franchisee — and we do that by walking a mile in their aprons, so to speak.

“I’m not a marketing guy or finance guy, I’m an operator who became CEO,” Bazner says. “I’ve washed dishes, been a line cook, been a bartender. That doesn’t make me smarter, it just puts me more in touch with what our operators deal with day to day.”

Once a quarter, everyone on our corporate team works a shift in an A&W Restaurant. It reminds them what it’s like to be in the trenches and helps them reconnect with the operational background so many of them come from. That’s true leadership, and it’s why we aren’t constantly having to change out our top executives.

Join our unique team

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