A&W Launches Expanded Franchising Push
After previewing its strategy in a recent Franchise Times cover story, A&W Restaurants announced an expanded, multi-faceted franchising strategy that builds on its success since being acquired from YUM! brands. The centerpiece of the campaign is an all-new franchise information website.
A&W has nearly 1,000 locations worldwide, with more than 630 in the U.S. The company added 15 domestic locations in 2017, and it is on target to open 20 in 2018. The iconic brand has seen an average sales increase of nearly 30 percent between 2011 and 2017.
As part of his recent story in Franchise Times, CEO Kevin Bazner emphasized that the brand’s expansion strategy was based on improving unit-level economics that would “push” the brand’s existing franchisees into expansion, rather than the headquarters “pulling” them toward adding new units.
“We don’t believe the right way for our brand is to force development,” Bazner said. “It’s really to continue to work on the business model that makes people want to grow the business.”
The new website comes amid an expanded franchising focus that includes hiring Franchise Performance Group, a franchise consulting and digital lead generation firm, and the addition of internal development staff. In January, A&W will begin an aggressive digital media advertising campaign targeting independent and multi-unit operators. Earlier this year it kicked off a comprehensive public relations program to educate potential owners about the A&W Restaurant brand.
The revamped website provides an in-depth look at A&W’s business model, such as investment and startup costs, financial performance and available territories. It also features interviews with A&W franchisees and executives.
“In addition to the brand’s longevity, A&W is unique because it is owned and operated by franchisees. They have a true voice in every decision that affects the brand,” Bazner added. “After acquiring A&W, we first focused on stabilizing the business and growing profitable store sales. With this accomplished, we are ready to make a big push forward,” he added.