America could possibly bid farewell to an icon this coming year. The fast food restaurant chain A&W is speculated to stop serving burgers and root beer floats in 2012.
Founded in 1919, the restaurant developed the “drive in” format that remains a staple of American fast food even today. Known for its signature root beer and burgers, the company boomed after World War II and over 450 franchises were opened nationwide. However, today there are only 322 operating national stores. The company has been deemed too small to be successful. The soda manufacturing side of the business will remain untouched as Dr.Pepper/Snapple owns the container beverage version of A&W Root Beer.
Is this a sign of the times? Are fast food restaurants possibly losing their pull with the American people? Doubtful, as A&W’s biggest competitors are KFC and McDonalds, both fast food super giants. A&W simply can not compete with the thousands of stores their rivals have world-wide.
An interesting note in the fast food battle, however, is that Subway chains, known for serving more “health conscious” foods, are holding their own against titans McDonalds and KFC. Subway has over 35,000 worldwide locations, very close to the amount of McDonalds.
While it’s a misnomer that all Subway menu items are healthy, it is true that they offer a very large variety of nutritious and beneficial meal options. This is not a claim most fast food chains can make.
So maybe, just maybe, the possible closing of the A&W establishment is a forecast of what’s to come. Perhaps the fact that restaurants like Subway are beating many popular burger and fried food joints, is an indicator of healthier trends on the horizon.
A&W’s fate is not sealed as its closing is still a speculation at this point. The company has been for sale by its holding company, Yum! Brands, since January. So far there have been no buyers. The analysts who make these brand predictions are not always correct, and have missed the mark before. Time will tell if A&W has what it takes to make it into the new year.
If we do bid farewell to this pioneer in the industry, is it conceivable to think that America could pay homage to the clever “drive-in” concept, by car hops serving up fresh apple slices instead of fries?
Via: Huffington Post
June 29th, 2011