LEXINGTON, Ky. – Quick-service chain A&W Restaurants is launching a new nationwide expansion plan for fuel and convenience-store locations, with at least a dozen units in the works this year.
A&W franchisees own and operate a total of 625 U.S. restaurants, 87 of which are located in gas stations and c-stores. Over the past five years, A&W has opened 15 c-store units. The new growth initiative calls for 12 c-store locations to launch in 2017.
After a period of sluggish sales and unit-growth performance, A&W said that its sales are now outpacing the overall QSR segment, with stand-alone locations—which include c-store units—up by more than 28% over the past five years. A&W also estimates that sales at its restaurants co-branded with KFC and Long John Silver’s are up by 20% over the same time period.
"From day one, our goal was to grow profitable sales, and thanks to our franchise partners’ commitment, perseverance and passion, we have accomplished that,” said Kevin Bazner, A&W’s president and CEO. "Today, our franchisees are more profitable than ever before, which sets the stage for a new phase of growth.”
To put the plan in place, A&W implemented an aggressive development program that includes a new franchising website, the hiring of a public relations firm, increased advertising and greater visibility at trade shows.
“While some chains are pulling out of the gas and convenience market, A&W is vigorously pursuing it,” Bazner said. “A&W is a fresh alternative to other brands, and we offer operators flexibility that helps them succeed. And unlike many chains that are now owned by equity groups, A&W’s owners have no exit strategy, allowing us to continue to make long-term decisions and investments.”
Based in Lexington, Ky., A&W Restaurants specialize in fresh root beer, burgers, chicken tenders, fries and other side items. The company has 1,100 locations worldwide.