Apply to Own

Why A&W

Franchisees are our partners in decision-making

Franchisees collaborate with our leadership on all decisions, and everyone from the CEO down spends time working in our restaurants. Being owned by our franchisees means all our decisions are collaborative, channeled through the National A&W Franchisees Association (NAWFA) Board and in cooperation with our Executive Leadership Team. This partnership forms the backbone of our operations-focused organization.

A lot of franchisors talk about how important their franchisees are, establishing advisory councils and speaking to the necessity of letting their franchisees weigh in. At A&W, it’s not just lip service. Everyone on our corporate team earns bonuses based not on the success of the franchisor, but on profitable same-store sales growth of franchisees.

Opening more restaurants in 2022 than previous 3 years

In 2021, A&W awarded 20 new franchise agreements and is aiming to award an additional 25 is 2022. This is in addition to the franchise owners who have expanded with the brand in the past 18 months. This rapid growth in markets nationwide means that more A&W restaurants will be opening in 2022 than have opened in the past three years.

Our AUVs are climbing higher than industry average

The switch to franchisee ownership in 2011 has driven strong results. A&W has experienced a 67% surge in same-store sales on average since the change in ownership. We’ve maintained a relationship with our food and equipment supplier Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions (RSCS), which is key to helping our franchisees maximize their profit margins.

Join the Exclusive Franchise Club

Inquire to Own

History of A&W

It started with cold, creamy Root Beer on a hot day, and the rest, as they say, is history.

A&W has a long history in this country, beginning with the first A&W Root Beer stand in 1919. Chain founder Roy Allen handed out his first handmade soda during a parade in Lodi, CA, to welcome home returning WWI vets. A century later, we have more than 625 restaurants from coast to coast (including a couple in Alaska), we make our Root Beer fresh in stores daily, and we’re still deeply connected to the small-town communities that have supported us all these years.

Here’s how our story unfolds:



Roy W. Allen opened his first Root Beer stand in Lodi, CA, on June 20. It was a hot night that coincided with a citywide party celebrating the homecoming of local World War I heroes.


Thanks to the postwar boom and the prevalence of G.I. loans, there was a flurry of new development and nearly 450 operating A&Ws. Allen sold the entire operation to the A&W Root Beer Co., a California company.


A&W celebrated its 50th Anniversary.


The 100th International Restaurant was opened in Thailand.


A&W was purchased by a group of domestic and international A&W Franchise Partners.


Allen partnered with former Lodi employee Frank Wright and leased their first two Root Beer stands to other operators so they could expand into the larger city of Sacramento. This was around the same time the partners coined the new name A&W®, “A” for Allen and “W” for Wright.



A&W went international opening its first restaurant in Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1956. A&W restaurants in Canada were initially part of the American A&W restaurant chain until they were sold in 1972 and since then, have been owned and operated in Canada independently and separately from A&W operations in the United States.


A&W Root Beer became available in bottles and cans.


In conjunction with A&W’s 80th Anniversary, the world’s largest Root Beer Float was created. 2,562.5 gallons of Root Beer were used to break the world record.


2019 & Beyond – THE FUTURE IS NOW

A&W celebrates its 100th anniversary. There are approximately 1,000 restaurants (& counting) in the U.S. and international markets.


Allen began to sell franchises to others,
thus establishing the first franchise restaurant chain in America.



A&W expanded to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Okinawa, Japan. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Original Bacon Cheeseburger was born.


Allen began to sell franchises to others, thus establishing the first franchise restaurant chain in America.


100% Real Wisconsin White Cheddar Cheese Curds were introduced.
“People gravitate to the brands they know, and A&W is one of those brands. A&W is a brand that is recognized from coast to coast, and it will only continue to see growth as we focus on strengthening our brand’s story.”

– Kevin Bazner, CEO