Root beer lovers, rejoice! A root beer-centric fast food chain, once said to be doomed to bankruptcy, is on the up-and-up again.
First, let us remind you that A&W was a highly popular American fast food chain in the mid-20th century, with more than 2,400 stores nationwide in the 1960s. But today, A&W only has about 900 stores, many of which share retail space with KFC. In fact, the company was doing so poorly that The Atlantic labeled the chain as one of the brands to die in 2012.
But according to a new report from QSR, A&W is growing.
In fact, 2017 will be the first year that the company opens more stores than it closes, with 45 opening in the U.S. and 25 more internationally.
The fast food restaurant’s “triumphant return” began in 2011 when CEO Kevin Bazner rejoined the company and made changes with the hope of restoring the brand to its former glory.
The root beer is now made in-house using the original recipe from 1919.
Before Bazner’s return, stores had been using cheaper store-bought versions that were shipped in like every other soda.
“The whole business that we’re in, the beverage business in quick service, is going to handcrafted,” Bazner told QSR. “Well, we own the handcrafted beverage… So we started there.”
With a lighter, brighter brand to attract younger customers and a more active social media presence, it looks like A&W isn’t down for the count, after all.