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A&W Restaurants Starts the Year Strong With 1 New Opening Per Month, 2 Signings and More in the Pipeline

The iconic franchise made strong pushes for growth in 2022, and the results have already started to manifest.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 4:16PM 04/20/23

A&W Restaurants, the all-American restaurant franchise with 500-plus units nationwide, has had an incredible start to the year with three new restaurants opened, all indicative of the brand’s real estate flexibility and willingness to embrace non-traditional spaces. With a goal of opening 10 new locations in 2023, the franchisor is already ahead of schedule.

“One of the notable openings this year brought an A&W to a Walmart in Rock Hill, South Carolina,” explained Paul Martino, president and COO of A&W. “This is our first entry into the Walmart space, and both our franchise partner and the A&W team are very happy with how that location has performed during its first six weeks of operations.”

Another remarkable opening occurred at the Altoona, Wisconsin restaurant, which broke all-time records for first-week and first-month sales of an A&W restaurant.

This restaurant is owned by Dee Wells and her husband John. The duo owns two other A&W locations and was motivated to open their third after seeing remarkable success with the brand. With the belief that a key aspect of business ownership is community support and engagement, Dee says she was excited to bring A&W to the Altoona community.

“We do a lot for the community,” she said. “I was raised in this area, and I love the community feel of a small town. I make sure that as a business, I do whatever I can to give back to the community that gives to me. We are constantly involved in local events and reaching out to schools and programs to help kids in the community.”

"We're extremely fortunate to have Dee with us. I think her story really encapsulates where we are as a brand,” said John Palumbo, senior director of franchise development.

The third opening of the quarter, in Fairview, Kansas, was an A&W that sits inside of a Bert’s Travel Center. The owners, Bud Keim and his father, already own a Bert’s Travel center. Their second one, which includes an A&W, provides a location for truckers to stop, rest and have a nostalgic meal.

All these areas around us are rural and A&W brings back that nostalgia as there used to be one in Sabetha back in the day,” said Bud Keim. “Many people in the local community have told me that they had their first dates there.”

In addition to these openings, A&W awarded two new franchises in the Gilbert, Arizona area to Wayne and Stephanie Carns. The Carns have owned and operated businesses for a decade and were ready to take on a venture in a new segment.

“We’ve wanted to franchise and own a restaurant since we got married. Recently, we started looking into franchises, but none of them seemed to fit what we wanted. When we started looking into A&W, we were really impressed with the business model and of course the name recognition that comes with the brand,” Wayne said. 

With multiple franchise agreements in the pipeline, A&W is working with franchisees to execute both single and multi-unit deals, breaking into brand new markets and bringing the American favorite to even more communities nationwide.

The total investment necessary to begin an A&W operation, not including rent or land costs, is $871,000 to $1,454,750 for a Freestanding Restaurant; $401,000 to $1,013,750 for an Inline Restaurant; and $276,000 to $704,000 for a Captive Restaurant, including a $15,000-$30,000 franchise fee.

ABOUT A&W Restaurants

Established in 1919 in Lodi, California, as a roadside stand, A&W Restaurants now stands as a thriving part of the American experience. With 500-plus locations across the country, including 300 standalone restaurants, the brand remains a one-of-a-kind true original. Even its signature A&W Root Beer, served in an iconic frosty mug, is handcrafted at the restaurant. Today, that traditional approach is resonating strongly with consumers looking for authentic brands. For more information, visit