American fast food chain A&W — which stands for Allen and Wright — made its debut in Singapore back in 1966 with an outlet at Dunearn Road.
Despite the popularity of its signature curly fries, coney dogs and root beer floats, A&W closed down all five outlets here in 2003, effectively exiting the Singapore market.
After 16 years, A&W has made a recent comeback with an outlet at the spanking new Jewel Changi Airport.
According to Kelvin Tan, A&W International’s director of marketing and communication, their outlet draws the “longest queue in Jewel now“.
In fact, even before the outlet opens for the day, there is already a line of at least 50 people eagerly waiting to have a taste of A&W again.
Encouraged by the positive response, Mr Tan said that A&W is here to stay this time.
Plans To Open Two More Outlets In S’pore
Over and above that, A&W has plans to open a second outlet in Singapore.
Mr Tan told CNA that this new outlet will “open in the next one-and-a-half to two months — in June.”
He did not elaborate further on it, but revealed that it will be located at a “very high traffic location”.
“After opening here, we wanted to be able to scale in such a speed where it would ease off the crowd at the first outlet. It’s not that we come unprepared, we know that there’s going to be a huge crowd,” he added.
There are also plans underway to add a third outlet by 2020, he said.
Tapping Into The Halal Market
Mr Tan said that A&W intends to apply for Halal certification to cater to the big Muslim market in Singapore.
“The Muslim community formed a very big chunk of our business (in the past) and I think right now we will continue to respect and recognise that this particular market is very important to us,” said Mr Tan in a CNA interview.
“From the start, when developing the menu, we always wanted to make it halal, but obviously we need to get the restaurant to open first. We are in the process, meaning to say we have every intention to submit our application to MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore).”
“Right now, we would like consumers to know that it’s a Muslim-friendly menu — no pork, no lard — and as soon as we can find the time to submit our application to MUIS, we will do so immediately.”
Once the crowd eases up, the relevant authorities can also visit their site to conduct an audit, he added.
An Upgraded Menu Beyond The Classics
According to Mr Tan, A&W Singapore outlet is not run as a franchise, but is managed directly by A&W Restaurants.
As such, it has great control over what it wants to put on the menu.
Beyond its traditional all-American classics, A&W Singapore’s menu also incorporates regional favourites such as the “golden aroma chicken” from A&W’s Malaysian and Indonesian outlets, and the “waffle sundae” from A&W outlets in Thailand.
“We have brought in menu items that have done well in overseas markets to Singapore. We still have our classics, but have added new things to appeal to a wider crowd,” Mr Tan told CNA.
As a company-owned outlet, there is also an increased emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
Their burgers and coney dogs are not pre-assembled, and its root beer beverages are only made upon order.
Summing up A&W’s presence in Singapore, Mr Tan expressed his confidence that the chain will not lose its appeal among Singaporeans in the coming years.
“What we have is a very good brand, a very good team already in place and we’ll be rolling out promotions and customer engagement programmes to help us bring in the millennials,” said Mr Tan.
“We have a very good strategy in place to make sure that this brand will continue to thrive for a long time to come.”
Once Jewel Changi Airport officially opens on 17 April, A&W Singapore will operate 24 hours a day.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post