A&W, the 500-plus-unit restaurant franchise with nearly 300 standalone restaurants in markets across the country, is returning to Arnold, Missouri. With plans to open by mid-October, the new location at 3996 Jeffco Blvd will give Arnold residents a chance to try A&W’s legendary take on classic American fare, including its fan-favorite Root Beer served in the brand’s iconic frosty mug.
Jim Sprick and Jim Sill were introduced to each other years ago by a mutual friend who recognized each man’s passion for business. With both men looking for a career change after more than two decades of experience with Yum! Brands and Anhueser Busch, Sill and Sprick decided to pursue business ownership together. Six years later, the duo plan to bring a legacy A&W standalone restaurant to Arnold, MO. The duo previously re-introduced St. Charles to the brand in 2019 and will be adding another restaurant in Belleville, Illinois next Spring.
“We plan on growing with the brand and would like to open additional standalone models. Once upon a time, the St. Louis market had 13 locations and we have two additional locations in development in the market,” says Sill. “A&W, which is more than 100 years old, is experiencing a renaissance period. We’re finding that the brand is especially popular in legacy towns, where A&W’s existed 30 or 40 years ago but closed. That’s a big reason why we’ve chosen to open this location in Arnold.”
“We’ve continued to pursue franchise opportunities with A&W because of the corporate infrastructure and business model. We’re able to easily communicate with the decision-makers of A&W like CEO Kevin Bazner,” adds Sprick. “The corporate team is accessible, and we feel that we’re heard when we come with an idea. We feel comfortable communicating and collaborating with the team to discuss how we want to design a restaurant.”
A&W has a long history, beginning with the first A&W Root Beer stand in 1919. Chain founder Roy Allen handed out the restaurant’s first handmade soda during a parade in Lodi, CA to welcome home returning WWI vets. A century later, the brand has grown to more than 500 restaurants from coast to coast, but it still makes its signature Root Beer fresh in stores daily, offers quality menu items such as fresh Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders and burgers made with 100% U.S. beef, and is deeply connected to each location’s community.
“A&W is eager to grow in Arnold, and Sprick and Sill have been a great addition to the A&W family,” says John Palumbo, Senior Director of Franchise Development for the brand. “A&W has been around for more than a century, and people have a strong emotional connection with our brand.”
The franchise has plans to reach 20 units in markets across the country by the end of 2021 and is actively recruiting qualified franchisees. Other top markets for development include the upper Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.