So you would have probably heard by now that famed American restaurant chain A&W is making its comeback into Singapore next year.
After 14 long years, the fast food restaurant at the heart of our childhoods will be making a nostalgic return in 2018 according to Yahoo. Social media and news outlets are awashed with this exciting development.
While everyone is reminiscing their coney dog and root beer float filled past awaiting for A&W’s arrival, we instead want to take a look at the backend reasons why an A&W return today will make sense from the brand’s perspective.
A&W Bosses Wants To Make The Brand Great Again
People tend to forget that A&W is actually older than even McDonald’s and KFC, at 98 years old. This almost century old fast food company though has endured many rough patches that led to its fall from grace.
The current management though wants to take A&W out of obscurity. Led by CEO Kevin Bazner, A&W is now managed by like-minded purists of the brand whom have spent a significant sum of their careers in the brand.
Previously, A&W was controlled by Yum!Brands (the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) who then sold it to franchisees who further plunged the brand into the abyss.
A Great American Brand acquired A&W in December 2011 with the intent to put the restaurant back into the primetime, and installed Kevin Bazner as CEO as he returns once more to head the brand.
An interesting fact about A Great American Brand is that it is actually a collective of A&W’s U.S. franchise association and its largest international franchisee from Indonesia.
A&W Is Finally On The Path Of Growth In Stores And Revenue
This year will be the first time in 11 years that A&W will be opening more stores than it is closing, while also taking in a revenue increase for the first time in a decade.
In 2016, 15 stores were opened in the US, while 21 more opened up overseas. This year, A&W is looking to add on another 20 and 25 more stores respectively.
For Southeast Asia though, CEO Kevin Bazner mentioned to Yahoo that plans are well underway and they’ve actually set up base in Singapore with an office since 2016.
Singapore will be home to the brand’s flagship restaurant in the region and “will serve as a training store for Southeast Asia”, with a franchise restaurant to open by the end of 2018.
The Root Beer Is King Once More
The people running the company would also like to correct one wrong that Yum!Brands made – relegating the root beer to the dispenser alongside other soft drinks and treated just like them.
As brand’s signature product, A&W purists within the new owners found it unacceptable.
However today, CEO Kevin Bazner shared that they have reverted the root beer as to how it should be – A&W is back to producing the root beer in-store daily.
Everything will be adhered to the original recipe from 1919, made without preservative and shortcuts are forbidden.
The question is, will this make its way to Singapore and Southeast Asia. With The Coca-Cola Company holding the rights to producing the beverage, something will have to be worked out likely.
Perhaps the biggest reason why A&W is making its comeback now is because the people who grew up eating it now have the spending power as adults.
Simply put, A&W is looking to cash-in on nostalgia, and the brand has for so long been seen as a unattainable ‘retro’ establishment unless you travel to countries that has a store.
Though millennials might just be the main target demographic, being the first ever fast-food chain to set up in Singapore in 1966, those from Generation Z and Baby Boomer periods would also be another customer base since they’ve lived through A&Ws heyday.
While we wait for 2018 to dawn on us, let’s reminisce the once great fast food chain from our younger times. Let’s just hope they don’t pack up and leave for the second time like a certain Wendy’s.