The women of A&W

If you’re looking for good franchises for women, look no further. We have plenty of visionary franchisees who also happen to be female.

So much of franchising is dominated by men, you can understand why many women look for gender-specific franchises. But franchises for women don’t have to be businesses that cater to women only. All you need to succeed at A&W Restaurants is entrepreneurial drive, a strong work ethic and the business savvy to know a good deal when you see one.

That describes plenty of our female franchisees. We’d like to introduce you to a couple of them.

A&W franchisee Julie Glenz of Minnesota

Julie Glenz is a second-generation A&W franchisee who bought her first unit from her parents in 2013 and then converted it into a freestanding restaurant. Today, she and her husband own A&W restaurants in Albany and Richmond, MN, about 20 minutes apart. Glenz’ family crew — husband Jeremy and their sons, aged 5, 7, 9 and 11 — help out frequently. We spoke with Julie about her ownership experience.

ALT: Julie Glenz and husband Jeremy are pictured next to a statue of Rooty the Root Beer Bear in their restaurant. Their four little boys, all wearing orange A&W T-shirts, are standing in front.

What were you doing before becoming an A&W franchisee?
I was managing the family gas station and two Subways. I had worked there for forever, since I was a child, and I never had any other job. I decided I wanted to open up a burger restaurant. I initially looked at McDonald’s, but it was too expensive. So I shifted gears and that’s when I found A&W.

How did you learn about A&W? Do you have any nostalgic memories of A&W before joining the brand?
I learned about A&W a little later in life, however my husband has told me many stories about growing up and going to A&W after church on Sundays. It was his family’s special treat.

What’s the most satisfying thing about being an A&W franchise owner?
We have our own identity now, our own “thing,” not someone else’s. We know we are setting our children up for their future. Hopefully they will want to take over the business. They love being a part of it and want to eat all of the food!

Why A&W?
Everyone knew of A&W, but there weren’t that many around where we lived. We wanted something a little different. We always hear from our customers, “OMG, we are so excited to come here.” They love A&W.

What do you like most about A&W?
I’ve never felt afraid to ask a question; there’s nothing I can’t ask. I love the homey feeling of A&W. It is like a family.

A&W franchisee Dee Wells of Wisconsin

Dee Wells opened her first A&W franchise in Withee, WI, in 2016 and now owns a second unit in Spencer, WI. A combination of nostalgic childhood memory and her entrepreneurial vision led her to invest in A&W. It’s something she’d like to see more women consider.

What were you doing before becoming an A&W franchisee?
I owned a C&G location with a mini food court. I love the food business; I don’t know when to quit! I was raised in this little town. I graduated, got married and decided I wanted to spend money and invest here. When looking at restaurants, I knew I wanted something with a drive-thru but I didn’t want a Burger King or Hardee’s. I came in for Discovery Day, and the rest is history.

How did you learn about A&W?
My first job ever was in a Root Beer stand that used to be an A&W. I remembered when the stand was an A&W, and I always wanted to work there as a child. I was so intrigued that you had to stir the Root Beer with a paddle.

What’s the most satisfying thing about being an A&W franchise owner?
I love the flexibility of being a franchisee. I love when guests react to being served Root Beer in a frosted mug and they start talking about the “old days.”

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs looking into franchise investment?
You can do it with the help of the A&W team. At first it was scary, but after our project manager Todd walked us through the process, it was easy. It was so fun and definitely rewarding.

Learn more about our franchise opportunities

Franchises for women don’t have to be gyms or childcare. All we’re looking for are entrepreneurs who share our passion for people, good food and great times. If you’d like to explore the 100-year-old A&W brand, please look at our research pages. You can also request our free Franchise Information Report here. We look forward to hearing from you!

How the entire executive team supports our franchisees

The best fast food franchise to own is one that fully supports its franchisees. At A&W, you’ll find the best support anywhere.

The exterior of an A&W Restaurant, with an A&W sign and “All American Food” against an orange facade on the front of the building and blue skies with white clouds above.

At A&W Restaurants, our executive team works with franchisees in every sense of the word. We’re not just sitting in our corporate offices in Lexington, KY, with no clue how to run a restaurant. In fact, everyone in the head office works in an A&W restaurant once a quarter, because we never want to forget our true focus: Delivering a great experience for customers and a strong bottom line for franchisees. The insights we gain, plus that fact that our brand is owned by our franchisees, makes us one of the best fast food franchises to own, period.

Everyone on our corporate team earns bonuses based on profitable same-store sales growth, which has averaged almost 33% since 2011. That’s performance tied to bottom-line profitability rather than top-line revenues.

Support you can count on

Linda Mulder is one of our most venerable franchisees. Not only is she the daughter of A&W Chairman Dale Mulder, she also brought the Hand-Breaded Chicken tenders to our menu by market-testing her recipe and then working with A&W to smooth out kitchen processes and develop pricing models.

She and her three siblings are multi-unit owners, with 10 A&W restaurants in Michigan, and also own other fast-food franchise concepts. She says A&W stands out from other fast food franchises in distinct ways.

“The support I can count on from corporate is just great. I just opened a new restaurant, and they were there through the design process. I had beautiful drawings, 3D drawings showing the equipment, how it was placed, and that was a really valuable tool,” Mulder says.

“They were there through the whole process,” she says. “We had weekly calls on how far are you coming, how’s it going, and we had a very hands-on relationship with our field person. The week before we opened, she was there helping. So there was quite a bit of direct hands-on help and frankly, it was very nice to have that even though I’ve been in the business for many years. It was very much appreciated.”

Tom Thompson has owned the A&W in Dubuque, IA, since the mid ’90s. His family still owns several convenience stores, and he was raised working in the grocery stores his parents ran. He loves the opportunity with A&W to grow and is considering adding another location to his portfolio, which he’s confident the community would support.

A frosted A&W mug of rootbeer is pictured with an orange straw. An out-of-focus restaurant interior is the background.

Like Linda Mulder, he’s also impressed by the level of support he receives from corporate. “I think the best thing about being a franchisee in this particular business is probably the uniqueness of the relationship that A&W has with the franchisees, particularly through the franchisee’s association, the National A&W Franchisees Association,” Thompson says. “NAWFA has a contractual responsibility with corporate, getting involved in brand standards, marketing, what have you. As a result, that relationship is unique and I think one of the best reasons that Brand A&W is successful.”

Thompson says A&W’s support goes above and beyond, and that’s something prospective franchise buyers should know.

“I think a franchisee coming into this system can count on genuine support and not just lip service,” he says. “It’s not just in Lexington; we have regional meetings where questions are not just encouraged but they’re needed, and the dialogue that we develop over that helps set the stage for true support. True, genuine ‘I care about your restaurant’ support.”

Learn more

You can discover more about our franchise offering by filling out the form on this page. You can also continue to explore our research pages to learn more about the A&W restaurant franchise opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!


Dave Crowley rejoins A&W Restaurants to head franchise development

Franchising veteran joins A&W leadership ready to assist franchise candidates

A tilted perspective shot of an A&W Restaurant exterior on a sunny day

A&W’s leadership team welcomed an old friend back into our ranks with Dave Crowley, who recently rejoined our brand as Director of Franchise Recruitment.

Franchising veteran Dave Crowley has rejoined A&W Restaurants to head up franchise development efforts. He joins the A&W leadership team as Director of Franchise Recruitment, having recently worked in development roles with such major food franchises as Yum! Brands, Little Caesars and Marco’s Pizza.

In his new role, Crowley, who worked in various development roles for A&W between 1997 and 2010, will recruit new franchisees and assist with site selection.

“A&W’s recent revitalization has dramatically improved same-store-sales profitability,” says President and CEO Kevin Bazner. “Now, we’re ready to accelerate our franchise expansion and welcome more new operators into the A&W family. Dave’s unique understanding of the A&W brand, along with his extensive sales experience, makes him the ideal person for this new position.”

A&W, which was founded in 1919 and celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, has experienced average same-store sales increases of over 33% since being acquired by a group of franchise partners in 2011. Our restaurant franchise has opened 45 units since the acquisition.

“I am excited to return to A&W, a brand I have great memories of from growing up in suburban Detroit,” says Crowley. “I respect and trust in A&W’s leadership, and its franchisee ownership structure gives the brand a unique position in the industry.”

Crowley looks forward to recruiting new franchisees and helping them grow their business. “This is an exciting time to be a part of a brand that’s on the move again,” he says.

Learn more

You can discover more about our franchise offering by filling out the form on this page. You can also continue to explore our research pages to learn more about the A&W restaurant franchise opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!

Meet the veterans of A&W

They served our country, and now they’re serving customers at A&W restaurants

A picture of an American flag next to the words "Thank you, veterans."

Topher Lee served for seven years in the U.S. Army Special Forces, and was injured twice during his time in Panama. Today, Lee and his business partner run the A&W in Glenwood, MN, with Lee focusing on training and developing leadership teams, thanks in part to the skill set he learned in the military. We’d like to be considered among the best fast food franchises for veterans, and in advance of Veterans Day Nov. 11, we spoke to some of the veterans who now work in the A&W franchise system.

Lee has lived with back pain and permanent nerve damage in his arm for 25 years, but thanks in part to an assist from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, he was able to make a transition back into civilian life and open his own consulting business, which he still runs today.

“In the military, I learned discipline, teamwork, partnership and training skills,” Lee says. “I apply those skills every day in the civilian world.”

Rick Lauder worked in a drug detox facility for the U.S. Army and as general medical personnel in the Vietnam War for 21 months — an admirable task. For the past 22 years, he and his wife have been owners and operators of the Boomville, MO, A&W.

“Being in the military,” he says, “made me grow up and realize what life was about. Looking back on it, I’m glad I went because it taught me how to be an adult.”

Ken King, Marketing Director for Happy Day Restaurants, also served in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy from 1964-67, working at the main supply depot in Saigon and later running the storeroom on board a ship.

“Since I grew up in the military, transitioning into civilian life wasn’t much of an adjustment for me,” says King. “I am a very loyal patriot and love my country.” He currently handles marketing for seven different brands, a job he says is “very challenging, but fun,” he says.

Why we love veterans

Since the beginning in 1919, A&W has embraced military veterans and given them an opportunity to use their skill sets on a civilian level and build successful businesses. We’ve raised more than $650,000 in donations for veteran-related charities since 2013, including $100,000 donated to the DAV in 2017. Supporting our nation’s veterans is a cause we passionately believe in.

In addition to the many franchise owners in our company who served in the military, many employees are also veterans.

Learn more about one of the best fast food franchises around

We have some great franchising opportunities for veterans and civilians alike. Just fill out the short, no-obligation form on this page to start a conversation. You can also learn more about our brand by exploring our research pages.

All-American food still rules in restaurants

A&W restaurant franchise has the consecutive years of same-store sales increases to prove it

A bacon cheeseburger and fries on a tray with a branded A&W Root Beer cup in the background.

Americans can’t get enough burgers and fries, and A&W franchises couldn’t be happier to serve customers what they crave.

Taco Tuesday is more popular than ever, pizza is a perennial favorite and cuisines from other countries are turning into real crowd-pleasers. Does that spell doom for the kind of Americana served up at your local A&W Restaurant? Not even close, and a recently published consumer survey about 2018’s top food trends shows Americans are embracing burgers and fries more than ever.

If you’re considering investing in one of our franchises, you should know that our classic Root Beer Floats and delicious burgers and fries are as sought-after now as they’ve ever been. We’re a nearly 100-year-old brand that can still pack in the crowds in our 625+ locations nationwide.

Our same-store sales tell the story

Since a group of franchisees bought the A&W Restaurant franchise brand, the franchisees have had a hand in every decision. So it’s no surprise to us that our store sales have been increasing year over year. In fact, since 2011, our stores have seen an average 33% increase in sales overall. You can talk to a lot of executives and a lot of franchisees about what they value in A&W, but the numbers certainly speak for themselves.

Our brand of Hip Nostalgia is appealing to American diners, and that’s why they keep coming back. Franchisees rely on A&W marketing to help them get the word out about where they are and what they serve, and our customers do the rest.

Own an A&W restaurant

Learn more about our franchising opportunities. Just fill out the short, no-obligation form on this page to start a conversation. You can also learn more about our brand by exploring our research pages.