By Bill Fry, Sr. Vice President of Restaurant Support Services and Supply Chain Management

Hands of friends in medical gloves greeting each other with fist bump. Background is navy.

I’ve been with A&W for 26 years. If a franchisee ever asked me to source face masks, I would have said, “Sure. What kind of Halloween promotion are you planning?”  Today, I know better.

We’re talking about things now that we never before considered. Our team is sourcing not just face masks but also thermometers while showing operators how to build DIY face shields. It’s been a heck of a few weeks.

Photo of Bill Fry, Senior VP Restaurant Support Services

Bill Fry, Sr. VP of Restaurant Support Services and Supply Chain Management

Thank goodness for our long-time partner Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions (RSCS). During this pandemic, RSCS enabled our A&W franchise partners to stay open by helping them acquire the personal protection equipment needed to keep our team members and guests as safe as possible – even items in short supply, like hand sanitizer.

Working with RSCS allows A&W operators to purchase goods and services at lower costs than our competition because RSCS is the purchasing co-op for Yum! Brands. If we were trying to buy masks just for ourselves, that’s not a good position to be in. Instead, we are leveraging the buying power of brands many times our size.

RSCS comes through for A&W in countless other ways. They have reliably kept our franchisees’ kitchens stocked with food and other supplies, and they provide our operators with the same high level of service our franchisees provide their guests. And since RSCS works with many of the world’s largest food vendors, it’s a pipeline for new product development, which will continue long after the coronavirus crisis is over.

People sometimes ask, “Bill, what keeps you going?” I tell them it’s the franchisees. Without them, we’d be nowhere. Seeing them work their tails off and spill out their hearts in support of their community has been truly inspirational.