Status check: A&W at 99 ... 'and-a-half'
In the run-up to the centennial celebration of A&W Restaurants, a news release said the chain is continuing to "reappear" along U.S. roadsides, chalking up 15 new locations last year, with another dozen expected to open by the end of this year.
Since its acquisition by a group of franchisees from Yum Brands seven years ago, the chain has added 54 new restaurants, to the current total of 630 locations in the U.S.
"From day one, we have focused on helping operators grow profitable same-store sales," CEO Kevin Bazner said in the press release.
At this point, Bazner said the chain has posted sales increases in 20 of the last 24 quarters. Average same-store sales also are up more than 33 percent for the same time period.
Bazner said the chain's free-standing locations now average annual sales of $951,678, based A&W's recently updated Franchise Disclosure Document which, for the first time since acquiring the brand, has included financial performance representation to prospective franchisees on the brand's sales levels. The restaurant industry's growing predilection now for alternative site locations has helped.
"We are seeing a lot of interest from operators looking to build new stand-alone restaurants, as well as gas and convenience units," he said.
This year the chain opened in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Spencer, Wisconsin, as well as Fremont, Nebraska, and Stansbury Park, Utah. Restaurants are currently under development in Berkeley and Hayward, California and Salome, Arizona, as well as towns in Wisconsin, Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Nevada.
A&W was founded in Lodi, California, in June 1919. Plans for its centennial celebration are being finalized. They include a book to be published next year with profits going to Disabled American Veterans. Worldwide the brand has nearly 1,000 locations.