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A&W’s planned Belleville location adds to nationwide franchise expansion

A&W Restaurants is opening restaurants in several markets, including one in Belleville.

Longtime St. Louis-area franchisees Jim Sill and Jim Sprick are adding to their A&W portfolio with the conversion of a former McDonald’s in Arnold, Mo., and conversion of a former credit union building in Belleville, which will be their eighth A&W.

The Belleville restaurant is at 648 Carlyle Ave., the former site of a Scott Credit Union branch. The target opening date is early 2022. The schedule has been affected by delays in getting kitchen equipment, Sill said.

The restaurant has proposed seating for 56 and will include a drive-through.

A&W will also soon open franchised restaurants in two of America’s fastest growing regions – Charlotte, North Carolina and Las Vegas, Nevada.

So far this year, the iconic root beer and burger chain has signed agreements for nine new U.S. franchise restaurants. There are currently more than 900 A&Ws in the U.S. and Asia.

Same-store sales for the first half of the year in the U.S. are up 19.6 percent over 2020, which was the brand’s ninth straight year of comp-sales growth. Since being acquired by franchisees nearly 10 years ago, comp-sales are up more than 50 percent.

Las Vegas real estate developers Mike Swecker and Alan Perlmutter signed an agreement to open five restaurants in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, Henderson and other rapidly growing cities.

Veteran multi-unit restaurant operators Ronald and Nadyne Jennings committed to building three locations in the Gastonia and Kings Mountain areas of North Carolina and in the Rock Hill, South Carolina area. They currently are Schlotzky’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill franchise owners.

“Both new and current franchisees recognize A&W offers a unique opportunity,” said CEO Kevin Bazner. “A&W is amazingly popular with consumers, and the concept is extremely well suited to conversions and c-stores, which make getting a location up and running faster and more cost-effective.” he added.

The search for sites is underway, with the restaurants expected to include a mix of conversions, c-stores and new construction. All new A&Ws are single-brand locations that feature drive-thrus.

“Unlike many other QSR chains that are over-built, we have plenty of white space in markets of all sizes.” Bazner noted that A&W is the only restaurant chain owned by its franchisees, which is very appealing to prospective operators.

A&W is currently making a number of discounts available to new franchisees.

Now in its 102nd year, A&W is America’s first franchised restaurant chain.

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