A&W Restaurants

From Academic Kids

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A&W restaurant in Page, Arizona
A&W restaurant in Page, Arizona

A&W is a chain of fast food restaurants distinguished by their draft root beer and root beer floats, made on the premises from concentrate and served in large glass mugs. It is the oldest fast food franchise company in the United States. They serve a typical fast food menu of hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. Many are 1950s-themed and sponsor classic car cruises. A number of them are drive-in restaurants with car-hops.



A&W began in 1922 in Lodi, California when Roy Allen took on partner Frank Wright to help with the root beer business he had started three years earlier. They branded their product A&W root beer after their last names. Two years later Allen bought out Wright and began franchising his product. His profits came from a small franchise fee and concentrate sales. There was no set food menu for franchises until 1978.

A&W may have been the first drive-in and by 1960 they had 2000 stores. In 1971 a beverage division was started, supplying bottled A&W products to grocery stores. The soft drinks sold under this brand are root beer and cream soda, made by Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.

In the United States and southeast Asia, A&W is currently a Yum! Brands, Inc. company. Most A&W locations that have opened in the U.S. in recent years have been cobranded with Yum!'s fish and chips chain Long John Silver's, or with Kentucky Fried Chicken.



The first Canadian A&W restaurant was opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1956. The Canadian division of A&W was sold to Unilever in 1972, and no longer has any other relation to the American chain.

In 1975, facing tough competition from the growing Canadian operations of McDonald's, the company launched what was to have been a temporary advertising campaign starring an orange-clad mascot, the Great Root Bear. The bear and the catchy tuba jingle that accompanied him wherever he went became a long-running success story.

In the early 1980's, the drive-in style of restaurant was phased out in Canada, replaced with a modern, pastel-coloured fast food outlet and healthier options.

In the late 1990's, marketing, design, and products began to take on a more ""retro" aproach, with older menu items (the Burger Family, Chubby Chicken, etc) being re-introduced to the menu, new orange, yellow, and brown interior & exterior design (older restraunts have since been painted to match this style), and they have introduced a Bacon and Eggs meal, in contrast to other fast food chains such as McDonalds.

On February 15, 2002, the A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund Template:Tsx was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The initial public offering was 8.34 million units at $10 each. There are currently 650 A&W restaurants in Canada. The franchise is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Okinawa, Japan

A&W drive-in restaurants are popular in Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan.


A&W operates in Australia. Until 2003, Tasmania did not have any A&W stores however, a trial run was tried, with A&W being combined with KFC stores, offering both store menu's in the one location. The trial ended in late 2004, with the A&W branches closing down, and it is as yet unknown if A&W will make another venture into the market.


A&W's first store in Asia Pacific opened at Kuala Lumpur's Batu Road in 1963. It was also the first fast food corporation from the US to set foot in the country.

United Kingdom

There are a few A&W outlets appearing in the United Kingdom, all of which are outlets shared with KFC. One such outlet opened with the 2003 refurbishment of the KFC outlet in Sinfin, Derby.

See also

External links




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